Glyphosate

EPA Finds Glyphosate Is Not Carcinogenic

Actually, the report was suppressed by the agency but its conclusions are posted below.

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GlyphosateDreamstimeReneVanDenBerg
Dreamstime: Rene Van Den Berg

The astute folks—kudos to Daily Environment reporter David Schultz—over at Bloomberg BNA managed to download and now have posted a copy of the Environmental Protection Agency's mysteriously withdrawn report on the carcinogenicity of the herbicide glyphosate. As Bloomberg reported:

Glyphosate, a weed killer developed by Monsanto that is now the most widely used pesticide in the U.S., likely does not cause cancer, according to an Environmental Protection Agency review panel.

The EPA's Cancer Assessment Review Committee made the determination after analyzing several dozen published and unpublished scientific studies of the chemical. The committee finalized its report on Oct. 1, 2015, but did not release it to the public until late April, when the agency inadvertently posted the report online.

The report's findings disagree with a 2015 review of glyphosate by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which found that the pesticide is a "probable carcinogen."

Let's just cut to the chase, here's what the summary of the EPA's suppressed report concluded:

In accordance with the 2005 Guidelines for Carcinogen Risk Assessment, based on the weight-of- evidence, glyphosate is classified as ?"Not Likely to be Carcinogenic to Humans?". This classification is based on the following weight-of-evidence considerations:

****The epidemiological evidence at this time does not support a causal relationship between glyphosate exposure and solid tumors. There is also no evidence to support a causal relationship between glyphosate exposure and the following non-solid tumors: leukemia, multiple myeloma, or Hodgkin lymphoma. The epidemiological evidence at this time is inconclusive for a causal or clear associative relationship between glyphosate and NHL [non-Hodgkin lymphoma]. Multiple case-control studies and one prospective cohort study found no association; whereas, results from a small number of case-control studies (mostly in Sweden*) did suggest an association. Limitations for most of these studies include small sample size, limited power, risk/odd ratios with large confidence intervals, and recall bias as well as missing data. The literature will continue to be monitored for studies related to glyphosate and risk of NHL.

****In experimental animals, there is no evidence for carcinogenicity. Dietary administration of glyphosate at doses ranging from 3.0 to 1500 mg/kg/day for up to two years produced no evidence of carcinogenic response to treatment in seven separate studies with male or female Sprague-Dawley or Wistar rats. Similarly, dietary administration of glyphosate at doses ranging from 85 to 4945 mg/kg/day for up to two years produced no evidence of carcinogenic response to treatment in four separate studies with male or female CD-1 mice. The CARC did not consider any of the observed tumors in 11 carcinogenicity studies in rats and mice to be treatment-related since the observed tumors did not exhibit a clear dose-response relationship, were not supported pre-neoplastic changes (e.g., foci, hypertrophy, and hyperplasia), were not statistically significant on pairwise statistical analysis with concurrent control groups, and/or were within the range of the historical control data.

****Based on a weight of evidence approach from a wide range of assays both in vitro and in vivo including endpoints for gene mutation, chromosomal damage, DNA damage and repair, there is no in vivo genotoxic or mutagenic concern for glyphosate.

Of course, this will not stop the bogus activist campaigns against this herbicide.

*I have always been amazed at how sensitive Swedish people are to the least bit of environmental hazard. It's really surprising that Swedes can expect to live an average of nearly 82 years.

**Disclosure: The link was sent to me by a consultant working for a group called the American Security Project. Board members include Gary Hart, Christine Todd Whitman and whole raft of ex-miiltary types. They also have something called the Business Council for American Security whose members are not listed. ASP is apparently interested in the glyphosate brouhaha because "being able to count on consistent crop supplies is a major factor for them." Doesn't matter that he's a flack if what the guy is pointing me toward is the truth, which it is. Just saying.

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  1. I fucking love science!

    1. If you really do love science, then you would wish it to not be influence so deeply by those with a lot of money and epistemological needs for distorting it.

  2. Even if you think these studies are false, the fact that there is no conclusive evidence that it causes cancer after decades of study means that if it does indeed cause cancer, it raises the rate by like .000001% and the amount we all eat during our entire lifetimes is not enough to cause much damage.

    1. The fact that there is no conclusive evidence that it causes cancer after decades of study only demonstrates the power of Monsanto to suppress the truth.

      Follow the money!

      1. Indeed, from what i glean from Monsanto’s own studies in the 1980s and 1990, it is rather likely that glyphosate increases risk of pancreatic and thyroid and probably other cancers in humans at a rate that is somewhere on the order of a few thousand cases per year. It’s a ballpark estimate, but it’s a likely scenario. Of course, the epidemiology hasn’t been done and the etiological studies have been blatantly misinterpreted by the 1985, 1986, and 1991 EPA memos on glyphosate, and now of course it’s echoed by the 2015 report that’s been temporarily retracted, about which the US Congress Big Ag lobby is currently pressuring the EPA to get it together and produce the outcome that Monsanto and Big Ag need to see for their profit streams to remain unscathed.

  3. Wow. 1500 mg/kg bodyweight for two years isn’t fatal? That’s some safe stuff.

    1. You forget we’re dealing with people who believe in homeopathy.

      1. 1500 mg is 1.5 kg.

        Methinks there’s a decimal missing someplace or they’re feeding up to 1.5 times the tester’s bodyweight in glyphosate every day.

        *pretty much anything would kill you in short order if you consumed your bodyweight in it daily.

        1. 1500mg is 1.5grams

        2. The metric system: how the duck does it work?

        3. This is why we should stick to standard.

          1. How many stone is that?

  4. The thing that annoys me about this discussion (one of them, anyway) is that glyphosate is actually a pretty clever weed killer. It’s simply an enzyme that prevent certain plants from being able to metabolize sunlight, and it breaks down after a few hours.

    If anyone has developed a less toxic way to remove plants beside simply pulling them up by hand, I’ve never heard about it. Ecologically-minded people should be singing its praises.

    But to hear watermelons talk about it, you’d think glyphosate was the most poisonous chemical known to man, and that like arsenic or mercury it just stays poisonous forever and contaminates the soil, etc., etc.

    The willful ignorance of modern environmentalists is endlessly aggravating. They actively work against their own goals while shrieking about how everyone else is ruining the world.

    1. That’s because about 99% of watermelons have never had a vegetable garden. (There’s an oddball organic gardening purist here and there, but I’d wager none of them actually cleared virgin land for their gardens.) They romanticize about the golden age when communities lived in harmony with nature, and weeds were kept at bay by good intentions, happy thoughts, and a little bit of the pure virtue of agrarian effort. They don’t want or need no steenkin’ science.

      When I expand my garden, RoundUp is my go to resource. That, and synthetic fertilizers. Better living through chemistry. Later on, I do use homemade compost.

      1. They romanticize about the golden age when communities lived in harmony with nature, and weeds were kept at bay by good intentions, happy thoughts, and a little bit of the pure virtue of agrarian effort.

        This really is it. They live in a Yes song.

        1. I’ve read all the comments in this thread.
          Yours is no disgrace.

    2. If anyone has developed a less toxic way to remove plants beside simply pulling them up by hand, I’ve never heard about it.

      With a 3000+ yr. history, you think you’d have heard of a pull or draw hoe. I’ve never heard of a hoe dying from ingestion or exposure to jimson weed, poison ivy… hell even snakes.

  5. “Of course, this will not stop the bogus activist campaigns against this herbicide”.

    I would love for for a group to go after these loons for going against the science, much like they themselves have done for those who speak against man-made climate change, if only to satirically give them a taste of their own medicine.

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  10. And… the EPA is wrong. They are fawning to be obsequious to their true bosses, Monsanto and the Big Ag lobby who pressure the EPA via the House CSST and Lamar Smith. Have you looked at their angry letters to the EPA saying “What’s wrong with you? Why are you questioning glyphosate’s safety? Don’t you know who you work for?”

    Monsanto’s own experiments from the 1980s and 1990 show that glyphosate causes cancer, but the EPA gave into Monsanto’s lawyering weasely input and rewrote their results to match their need to show it as not carcinogenic.

    Seriously, read the 1985, 1986, and 1991 memos by the EPA on glyphosate. See how the dialogue with Monsanto’s operatives worked. See how they re-evaluated a control group to get one case of tumor in there, so the treatment groups seem less worrisome. See how they interpret things such that a positive linear dose response is a 100% requirement for showing toxicity, which doesn’t match real world toxicology. See how three of the EPA toxicologists would not sign the 1991 memo and wrote “DO NOT CONCUR” — ask yourself why? See how they fawn to say “We are pleased to respond with… ” total agreement and obsequious sycophantism.

    Monsanto’s lying and people are dying. Who knows, a few thousand cases of thyroid cancer in 20 years that otherwise would not have occurred? Pancreatic cancer? It’s likely. Science is distorted by money. Climate change denialism translated into chemical risk denialism.

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