IARC's Report on Glyphosate

Glyphosate has a long history of safe use. In evaluations spanning four decades, the overwhelming conclusion of experts worldwide has been that glyphosate, when used according to label directions, does not present an unreasonable risk of adverse effects to humans, wildlife or the environment.

In March 2015, IARC convened a meeting to evaluate the potential carcinogenic risks to humans from several pesticides, including glyphosate, an active ingredient in many popular herbicides, including Roundup brand herbicides. After that meeting the IARC panel classified glyphosate in Category 2A, a category that also includes red meat.

Based on the overwhelming weight of evidence, Monsanto strongly disagrees with IARC’s classification of glyphosate.

Importantly, IARC overlooked decades of thorough and science-based analysis by regulatory agencies around the world and selectively interpreted data to arrive at its classification of glyphosate. No regulatory agency in the world considers glyphosate to be a carcinogen.

Regulatory agencies have reviewed all the key studies examined by IARC – and many more – and arrived at the overwhelming consensus that glyphosate poses no unreasonable risks to humans or the environment when used according to label instructions.

In fact, since IARC classified glyphosate, regulatory authorities in the United States, Europe, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Australia have publicly reaffirmed that glyphosate does not cause cancer. Additionally, in May 2016, the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) concluded that “glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans from exposure through the diet.”

Click here to read a recent investigation by Reuters that reveals significant shortcomings and conflicts of interest with IARC’s process. The investigation helps put IARC’s erroneous classification of glyphosate into perspective.

Furthermore, to better understand how IARC arrived at such an inconsistent conclusion, Monsanto retained a scientific consultant to convene an expert panel to review IARC’s assessment. The charge to the experts was to take a thorough look at the data in the monograph, assess the scope of the research included or excluded, and publish their conclusions to allow for external review. The experts concluded that “the data do not support IARC’s conclusion that glyphosate is a ‘probable human carcinogen’ and, consistent with previous regulatory assessments, further concluded that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans.” Click here to view the expert panel’s peer-reviewed findings. Click here for information about the expert panel and its members.

Below are some resources and information about glyphosate safety. If you have specific questions about glyphosate or any of our other products, please feel free to ask us at discover.monsanto.com

Scientific and Regulatory Comments on Glyphosate around the World

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
    "Not likely to be carcinogenic to humans"
    Glyphosate Issue Paper: Evaluation of Carcinogenic Potential, September 2016
  • Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR)
    “glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans from exposure through the diet.”
    Summary report on glyphosate, diazinon and malathion, May 2016
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    “Not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”
    Report of the Cancer Assessment Review Committee (CARC), dated October 2015
  • The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
    “Glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans and the evidence does not support classification with regard to its carcinogenic potential.”
    Conclusion on the peer review of the pesticide risk assessment of the active substance glyphosate, November 2015
  • Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency
    “In consideration of the strength and limitations of the large body of information on glyphosate, which included multiple short and long term (lifetime) animal toxicity studies, numerous in vivo and in vitro genotoxicity assays, as well as the large body of epidemiological information, the overall weight of evidence indicates that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a human cancer risk.”
    Summary of the Pest Management Regulatory Agency Proposed Re-evaluation Decision (PRVD2015-01), April 13, 2015
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    “EPA has concluded that glyphosate does not pose a cancer risk to humans.”
    2013 Federal Register Notice (FR 25396, Vol. 78, No. 84, May 1, 2013).
  • World Health Organization, International Programme on Chemical Safety
    “Bioassays in mice and rats did not indicate that technical glyphosate was carcinogenic. Glyphosate has been shown to have no genotoxic potential in a range of in vitro and in vivo studies. Animal studies show that glyphosate is not carcinogenic, mutagenic or teratogenic.”
    Environmental Health Criteria 159, Glyphosate (1994)
  • Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (2004)
    “In view of the absence of a carcinogenic potential in animals and the lack of genotoxicity in standard tests, the Meeting concluded that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans.”
    JMPR Evaluations (2004), Part II – Toxicological
  • World Health Organization (WHO), Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality
    “Under usual conditions, therefore, the presence of glyphosate and AMPA in drinking-water does not represent a hazard to human health. For this reason, the establishment of a numerical guideline value for glyphosate and AMPA is not deemed necessary.”
    Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality, Glyphosate and AMPA in Drinking-Water (2005)
  • German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment
    “In epidemiological studies in humans, there was no evidence of carcinogenicity and there were no effects on fertility, reproduction and development of neurotoxicity that might be attributed to glyphosate.”
    Glyphosate Renewal Assessment Report, Germany as Rapporteur Member State for the European Renewal of Approval for Glyphosate (2015)
  • Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority
    “The APVMA currently has no data before it suggesting that glyphosate products registered in Australia and used according to label instructions present any unacceptable risks to human health, the environment and trade. … The weight and strength of evidence shows that glyphosate is not genotoxic, carcinogenic or neurotoxic.”
    Australian Government, Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (2013)
  • Argentine Interdisciplinary Scientific Council
    “…The epidemiological studies reviewed, showed no correlation between exposure to glyphosate and cancer incidence, nor adverse effects on reproduction, or Hyperactive-Attention Deficit Disorder in children. It is estimated that no significant risks would exist for human health regarding adverse effects on the genetic material. Under responsible use conditions for this herbicide, the intake of food and water would not imply risks for human health."
    “Evaluación De La Informacion Cientifica Vinculada Al Glifosato En Su Incidencia Sobre La Alud Humana Y El Ambiente,” (“Assessment of scientific information related to glyphosate and its incidence on human health and the environment”) (2009)
  • Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture
    “Based on the available data today and the numerous evaluations by pertinent scientific organizations, nationally and internationally, the OFAG and OSAV consider that glyphosate residues … are not harmful for the population."
  • Belgian Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety, Environment
    “Considering this situation, the Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety, Environment is of the opinion that there are not enough reasons to implement restrictive measures for glyphosate at this time, let alone to ban the substance."
  • South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries
    “glyphosate-based products that are registered for use in South Africa have been through a robust chemical risk assessment process. Based on current risk assessments, glyphosate poses a minimal risk to users and the general public, provided it is used according to label instructions and safety statements."
  • Yehia A. Ibrahim, Professor of Pesticide Chemistry and Toxicology, Assiut University and Deputy Chairman of the Agricultural Pesticide Committee (APC), Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, Arab Republic of Egypt
    “It appears that IARC has overreached in its conclusion by failing to consider the vast body of literature supporting the notion that glyphosate is not a carcinogen. Besides, IARC has failed to place potential hazard into a context of actual risk. When the conditions of glyphosate use in Egypt is rationally analyzed, it appears that exposure of the public to glyphosate is order of magnitudes far below the zero-risk dose.”
    Ibrahim YA. A regulatory perspective on the potential carcinogenicity of glyphosate. J Toxicol Health. 2015; 2:1.

Click here for other key publications related to glyphosate safety.

Who is IARC?

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) evaluates and disseminates information on cancer risks through publications, meetings, courses and fellowships. Unlike regulatory reviews that take a comprehensive look at all available data over an extended period of time, IARC makes its conclusion on a limited data review during a meeting that lasts one week. IARC is one of four programs within the World Health Organization (WHO) that has reviewed glyphosate, and the only one to have made such a finding.