Monsanto's Weedkiller Glyphosate Is Not a Carcinogen, Says E.U. Chemical Regulator

Joins European Food Safety Authority, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization

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Rene Van Den Berg/Dreamstime

The European Chemical Agency's (ECHA) Committee for Risk Assessment has concluded that the available scientific evidence does not warrant classifyinig the weedkiller glyphosate "for specific target organ toxicity, or as a carcinogen, as a mutagen or for reproductive toxicity." Glyphosate is sold by Monsanto under the brand name Roundup. A wide variety of commodity crops have been enhanced using biotechnology to resist the herbicide enabling modern farmers to use it for weed control. Consequently, banning glyphosate has become a major goal of anti-GMO activists.

In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (a part of the World Health Organization) ruled that glyphosate was probably carcinogenic to humans. Notoriously, the IARC supposedly evaluates the weight of the evidence as to whether an agent is capable of causing cancer (technically called "hazard"), but it does not measure the likelihood that cancer will occur (technically called "risk") as a result of exposure to an agent. The ECHA also evaluated glyphosate on the basis of the "hazard" it might pose and, in contrast to the IARC, found that it is not a carcinogen. Why the difference? Well, perhaps because the IARC committee that evaluated glyphosate was headed by a long-time anti-pesticide activist.

The ECHA finding that glyhosate is not a carcinogen joins those of European Food Safety Authority, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, among others.

It's interesting that this ECHA finding comes out at the same as a judge reveals emails between EPA and Monsanto researchers as part of litigation in which some folks are suing Monsanto. They are claiming that their exposures of glyphosate is the cause of their non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. Will keep readers posted if the trial lawyers turn up anything irregular.

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  1. Hippies who use any EU regulation as “proof something is awful” will, of course, be consistent and accept that glyphosate is harmless, in 3, 2, …

    1. They’ll blame it on “market failure”, I’m sure…

  2. Technically, more people are going to die of cancer after the invention and adoption of Roundup than ever did before it. That’s kinda the idea.

    1. Do you know how many people died in hospitals a thousand years ago? Not very many. Now that everybody’s got easy access to hospitals, tons of people die in hospitals every year. Maybe not as dramatic as the contrast between the number of people killed in car accidents a thousand years ago as compared to now, but still eye-opening.

    2. “Technically, more people are going to die of cancer after the invention and adoption of Roundup than ever did before it. That’s kinda the idea.”

      I spoke with an MD acquaintance not long ago and he commented that he wouldn’t say this to a lot of people, but cancer was now the leading cause of death at the hospital where he works, and they were pleased.
      They’d finally got a good enough handle on heart issues to push it to #2.

    3. Because food is cheep enough now thanks to herbicide that people are living long enough to get cancer right.

  3. Evil korparapeshuns!!

  4. That’s what i been saying! [chugs bottle of Roundup]

    1. Chugging bottles of Roundup? What are we freshman?

    2. It gets rid of weeds, not gets rid of WEED.

  5. It’s interesting that this ECHA finding comes out at the same as a judge reveals emails between EPA and Monsanto researchers as part of litigation in which some folks are suing Monsanto.

    Were the researchers sneaky Russians? ‘Cause you know what that means.

    1. Means moose and skvirrel are in trouble?

      1. Means Boris the Blade still lives!

        1. Boris the bullet dodger!

    2. Speaking of sneaky Russians and OT, have y’all heard about the US indictment of at least 2 FSB agents and 2 other Russian agents? The NYT article is about the Yahoo hack was perpetrated by a Canadian citizen from Kazakhstan and these two guys were being run by US spooks and the US spooks lost control of them.

  6. Let us paraphrase from a circa late 70s television advertisement:

    Without Monsanto, life itself would be impossible.

  7. Isn’t it wonderful that luddites have “science” on their side?
    (scare quotes definitely intended)

  8. Life is terminal.

  9. Given that all of these regulatory agencies are in concordance that glyphosate is okay, all doubt in my mind as to whether glyphosate is okay to consume or whether it’s something to avoid in the diet has been set to ease. It’s definitely something to avoid! There is no question that glyphosate affects gut bacteria negatively which, given the importance of the gut’s role in absorption of food, gives cause to question its accumulative effects. By the way, there is absolutely no non-industry funded research on the accumulative effects of glyphosate – from receiving it in the womb to its presence in breast milk to its ubiquity in daily food consumption.

    Maybe it doesn’t cause cancer. Maybe it’s designation by truth-hiding agencies as non-carcinogenic is intended to distract from other very real issues with glyphosate.

    1. “Maybe its designation…”. Not “it’s”.

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