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


IARC is an Outlier

IARC’s classification is inconsistent with the overwhelming consensus of regulatory authorities and other experts around the world, who have assessed all the studies examined by IARC – and many more. While IARC’s erroneous classification has attracted media attention and been used repeatedly by certain anti-agriculture organizations to generate unwarranted fear and confusion, regulators around the world continue to support the safe use of glyphosate. Following are regulatory and other expert conclusions on glyphosate that have been announced in just the short time since IARC inappropriately classified glyphosate. To be clear: no regulatory agency in the world considers glyphosate to be a carcinogen.

Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA)
October 2016
“Glyphosate does not pose a cancer to humans when used in accordance with the label instructions”

Expert Panels on Glyphosate – Peer Reviewed in Critical Reviews of Toxicology
September 2016
“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”

United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
September 2016
Glyphosate is classified as “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans”

New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority
August 2016
“Glyphosate is unlikely to be genotoxic or carcinogenic”

European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)
May 2016
“No hazard classification for carcinogenicity is warranted for glyphosate according to the CLP criteria”

Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR)
May 2016
“Glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans from exposure through the diet”

Japan Food Safety Commission (FSC)
March 2016
“No neurotoxicity, carcinogenicity, reproductive effect, teratogenicity or genotoxicity was observed”

European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
November 2015
Glyphosate is not classified or proposed to be classified as carcinogenic or toxic for Reproduction class 2

United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
October 2015
Glyphosate is classified as “Not Likely to be Carcinogenic to Humans”

United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
June 2015
“No convincing evidence of potential interaction with the estrogen, androgen or thyroid pathways”

Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA)
April 2015
“The overall weight of evidence indicates that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a human cancer risk”


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.