US EPA glyphosate ruling: ‘No risks to public health’

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that it “continues to find that there are no risks to public health when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label and that glyphosate is not a carcinogen”.

In a statement on the matter, released on Tuesday, April 30, the agency noted that its scientific findings on human health risk are consistent with the conclusions of science reviews by many other countries and other federal agencies.

While the agency did not identify public health risks in the 2017 human health risk assessment, the 2017 ecological assessment did identify ecological risks, the statement said.

To address these risks, EPA is proposing management measures to help farmers target pesticide sprays on the intended pest, protect pollinators, and reduce the problem of weeds becoming resistant to glyphosate.

Commenting on the ruling, EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler said: “EPA has found no risks to public health from the current registered uses of glyphosate.

[Tuesday’s] proposed action includes new management measures that will help farmers use glyphosate in the most effective and efficient way possible, including pollinator protections.

“We look forward to input from farmers and other stakeholders to ensure that the draft management measures are workable, realistic, and effective.”

US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue also spoke, stating: “If we are going to feed 10 billion people by 2050, we are going to need all the tools at our disposal, which includes the use the glyphosate.

“USDA [US Department of Agriculture] applauds EPA’s proposed registration decision as it is science-based and consistent with the findings of other regulatory authorities that glyphosate does not pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans.”

Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in US agriculture and has been studied for decades, the agency noted.

The herbicide is the active ingredient in Roundup, owned by Bayer subsidiary Monsanto, which is currently embroiled in a number of lawsuits relating to the safety of the product, including a recent case in France.

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