What others are saying: Third party responses to IARC Glyphosate Classification

Independent Expert Opinion

  • Fear Obscuring Science in Herbicide Debate
    The Hill 04.08.2015

    Bill Banner, MD, PhD │ president-elect of American Association of Poison Control Centers
    “It’s unfortunate that misinformation is once again putting science on the defensive. A rational assessment of risk clearly shows that the risk of lower crop yields needed to feed hungry people far outweighs any risk from glyphosate-resistant or other GMO crops. We have seen the damage that irrational fear can do. I can only hope we have learned our lesson and won’t let history repeat itself.”
  • Is Glyphosate Poison?
    Best Food Facts 04.08.15

    Jeff Graybill, MS, CCA, Penn State University
    “The MSDS for glyphosate does not list it as a known carcinogen. There are plenty of other products that at high levels, are. Glyphosate has been used for almost 40 years, long before GMO crops, and it is considered one of the safest pesticides to use because it has very low mammalian toxicity and isn’t considered a carcinogen. In my mind, glyphosate is one of the safest chemicals.”
  • The Defense of Glyphosate Herbicide
    The Dr. Oz Show 04.06.15

    Dr. Michael Greenberg, MPH │ Professor of Emergency Medicine and Chief, Division of Medical Toxicology at Drexel University College of Medicine
    “The weight of evidence strongly suggests that glyphosate does not cause cancer – and if it does, a look at the dose demonstrates a lack of medically significant exposure. Users and the public can be confident that labeled uses of glyphosate products pose no meaningful risk of cancer.”
  • Letter to Chair of U.S. House Committee on Agriculture
    Agri-Pulse 04.01.15

    Dr. Nina Fedoroff │Senior science advisor of OFW Law and member of the National Academy of Sciences
    “Furthermore, the IARC’s recent conclusions appear to be the result of an incomplete data review that has omitted key evidence, and so needs to be treated with a significant degree of caution, particularly in light of the wealth of independent evidence demonstrating the safety of glyphosate.”
  • Glyphosate and Cancer: What Does the Data Say
    Weed Control Freaks 03.28.15

    Andrew Kniss, University of Wyoming
    “… based on the data I could find, I don’t see any evidence for alarm. And I say that as someone who is exposed to more glyphosate than a vast majority of the population.”
  • IARC 'disregarding' scientific evidence on pesticides
    Farming UK 3.23.2015

    Nick von Westenholz, CEO of Crop Protection Association
    “Numerous health assessments conducted by public authorities over the past 40 years have consistently concluded that glyphosate does not pose any unacceptable risk to human health.”
  • GMOs are still the best thing for feeding the world
    Scientific American 03.31.15

    Kevin Bonham, Curriculum Fellow│ Harvard Medical School (Twitter @Kevbonham)
    “Hypothetically, let’s pretend we could say for certain that glyphosate causes cancer. Would this be sufficient reason to stop using glyphosate? Would this imply that GMO’s are a bad idea? The answer to both of these questions is no.”
  • What does “Probably Causes Cancer” actually mean?
    A video explanation on Grist 03.27.15

    University of Michigan’s Risk Science Center
  • IARC’s ruling on glyphosate ignores the science
    American Council on Science and Health 3.23.2015

    Dr. Gil Ross, American Council on Science and Health
    “We here at ACSH have been keen observers of the working of IARC over the years, and while this ruling is disappointing for anyone devoted to sound science as the basis of regulatory policy, no one should be surprised. This agency of the WHO/UN is among the worst of the hyper-regulators, and has developed a well-deserved reputation for breezing past or simply ignoring the latest (or even the consensus) science in the service of their precautionary principle-based agenda.”
  • Roundup® a Carcinogen? Never Mind the Science…
    The Innovation Files, 3.23.2015

    Val Giddings, Senior Fellow, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
    “The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has departed from the scientific consensus to declare glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup®, to be a class 2A ‘probable human carcinogen.’ This contradicts a strong and long standing consensus supported by a vast array of data. The IARC statement is not the result of a thorough, considered and critical review of all the relevant data.”

    “This conclusion, published in The Lancet Oncology, contradicts a strong and long standing consensus supported by a vast array of data and real world experience, and comes from an organization that rarely addresses potential pesticide carcinogenicity, perhaps because the real concerns in this area are minimal, and lie elsewhere.”

    “Scientific experts who have considered the body of relevant research do not agree with a categorization of glyphosate as carcinogenic for a very simple reason – it’s clearly not. There is nothing in the data to support such claims, and nothing in the deep reservoir of real world experience with glyphosate, to justify such a move. IARC did not consider any new research or data, and all the information they considered has already been evaluated by regulatory bodies around the world. The most recent of these reviews was conducted by Germany on behalf of the European Union.”
  • Expert Reaction to Carcinogenicity classification of five pesticides by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
    Science Media Centre 3.20.2015

    Prof. Alan Boobis, Professor of Biochemical Pharmacology at Imperial College London
    “The IARC process is not designed to take into account how a pesticide is used in the real world – generally there is no requirement to establish a specific mode of action, nor does mode of action influence the conclusion or classification category for carcinogenicity.”

    “The IARC process is not a risk assessment. It determines the potential for a compound to cause cancer, but not the likelihood.”

    “The UK Committee on Carcinogenicity has evaluated possible links between pesticide exposure and cancer on several occasions. It has found little evidence for such a link. At most, the evidence was inconsistent and was considered insufficient to call for regulatory action.”

    “These conclusions of IARC are important and should be taken into account when evaluating these pesticides, but that must also take into account how the pesticides are used in the real world. In my view this report is not a cause for undue alarm.”
  • Science Media Centre 3.20.2015
    Prof. Sir Colin Berry, Emeritus Professor of Pathology at Queen Mary University of London
    “I have served on a number of regulatory bodies for the UK, EU and WHO and I am well used to sifting wheat from chaff in the analysis of pesticides. What is missing in this new assessment is balance in the consideration of the studies.”

    “There are over 60 genotoxicity studies on glyphosate with none showing results that should cause alarm relating to any likely human exposure. For human epidemiological studies there are 7 cohort and 14 case control studies, none of which support carcinogenicity.”

    “The weight of evidence is against carcinogenicity.”

    “This assessment has looked at a group of 43 diseases lumped into one category, multiple pesticides with very different chemistry, and has failed to include critical data. There is nothing here to suggest that the variety of genetic changes in these diseases could be caused by these pesticides. This appears to be a rather selective review.”
  • Science Media Centre 3.20.2015
    Prof. David Coggon, Professor of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the University of Southampton
    “Given the large number of epidemiological studies that have been carried out on pesticides and cancer, many of them looking at multiple types of malignancy, it is to be expected that some positive associations will occur simply by chance. Thus, when evaluating the epidemiological evidence, one is looking for a consistent pattern of increased risk for one or more tumour types, which is unlikely to be explained by biases (often unavoidable) in the study methods. It is clear from the summary table in the Lancet report that clear and consistent evidence of this type was not found for any of the pesticides that were considered.”

    “Regulatory risk assessment for pesticides, both in the EU and the USA, routinely considers evidence on potential carcinogenicity, both from animal studies (including some that may not have been published in the peer-reviewed literature, but which have been conducted to specified exacting standards) and also, where available, from epidemiological research. The approach adopted is precautionary. Where there are any indications that a compound might cause cancer, it will not be approved for use unless there is good evidence that it is not genotoxic and that no risk of cancer would occur from the levels of exposure that could occur in a worst case scenario. Risk assessments are reviewed periodically, and particularly if new evidence emerges to suggest a previously unrecognised problem.”
  • Science Media Centre 3.20.2015
    Prof. Tony Dayan, Emeritus Toxicologist
    “Detailed analysis of the nature and quality of the evidence overall does not support such a high level classification, which at the most should be Class IIB.”
  • March Madness From the United Nations
    Forbes, 3.20.2015

    Henry Miller, Forbes Science and Technology contributor
    “The data (and a selected set of data, at that) were reviewed to determine whether glyphosate is capable of causing cancer. As with common chemicals like sugar, salt and water, and foods like nutmeg and licorice, glyphosate at very high doses is capable of causing harm to humans. That’s what the IARC “2A” designation—“probably carcinogenic to humans”–essentially means. But one of the seminal tenets of toxicology is that “the dose makes the poison,” and the reality is that glyphosate is not a human health risk even at levels of exposure that are more than 100 times higher than the human exposures that occur under conditions consistent with the product’s labeling.”
  • What Grade Do Academics Give To IARC Organophosphate Claims? A Big "F"
    Science 2.0, 3.23.3015

    Hank Campbell, Science 2.0 founder and author
    "The work is a little bizarre. Parathion and Tetrachlorvinphos are actually banned in the US and the EU but are only 'possible' carcinogens in this paper while glyphosate, arguably one of the most thoroughly tested products in the world, is 'probable' despite the EPA not finding any reasons to restrict it. "

    "There must be more to this story but the authors are all lesser known so someone more in tune with the political undercurrents will have more to say on it in the near future."
  • German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment
    3-23-2015

    “On the basis of the information at the BfR’s disposal, the classification of glyphosate in the Lancet on March 20 as belonging to Group 2A (probably carcinogenic to humans) is scientifically hard to follow and apparently based on very few studies.”

    “The recently published IARC classification is based partially on indications of carcinogenic effect in human studies, i.e. a statistical relationship between exposure to Glyphosate and an increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphomas. This risk is derived from three epidemiological studies from the USA, Canada and Sweden. However, this conclusion was not shared by in a very large scale “Agricultural Health Study”, also cited, or by other studies. In the latest report of the BfR to the EU, on the other hand, over 30 epidemiological studies were evaluated. In overall conclusion, there was no proven relationship between exposure to glyphosate and an increased risk of non-Hodgkins lymphoma or other cancers.”

    “Indications for a gene toxic potential of glyphosate are hard to follow from IARC’s published summary, since the review also included formulations that were not further described.”

Regulatory Statements

  • 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, 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)
  • 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
  • Glyphosate IARC Review
    ACVM News & Views

    "... [Note] that IARC does not carry out risk assessments. Instead it undertakes hazard assessments to determine if a substance might cause cancer, but does not consider the likelihood that it would. The IARC findings are at odds with previous conclusions made by significant regulators such as the EU and the USA. Regulators in New Zealand have previously reviewed all the data on glyphosate toxicity and found it to be safe to use as a herbicide."
  • Does glyphosate cause cancer?
    The German Risk Agency (BfR)

    “As the ‘Rapporteur Member State’ for the active substance glyphosate within the framework of EU re-evaluation, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) was responsible for the human health risk assessment and has assessed glyphosate as non-carcinogenic.”
  • CropLife Magazine 04.06.15
    Carissa Cyran │ Chemical review manager for the Office of Pesticide Programs at EPA
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA)

    “Our review concluded that this body of research does not provide evidence to show that glyphosate causes cancer, and it does not warrant any change in EPA’s cancer classification for glyphosate. This is the same conclusion reached in 2004 by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization and affirmed this year by Germany’s pesticide regulatory officials. In a few months, EPA will be releasing for public comment our preliminary human health risk assessment for glyphosate as part of our research program to re-evaluate all pesticides periodically. EPA is aware of the recent IARC report and will address it in detail in the preliminary risk assessment.”
  • CBC News 04.01.15
    Health Canada

    “No regulatory authority in the world considers glyphosate to be a carcinogenic risk to humans.”

Industry Statements

  • Albaugh LLC
    Formulator and packager of agrochemical products.
    Through its continued participation in these [glyphosate] task forces, Albaugh will work to urge the withdrawal of the finding of the IARC with respect to glyphosate (not available online)
  • Is Glyphosate Poison?
    Truth About Trade & Technology

    Chairman Bill Horan 04.02.15 (Twitter: @TruthAboutTrade and @World_Farmers)
    “Using glyphosate politics to scare people is wrong … studies consistently show that glyphosate is safe, even when exposure exceeds recommended levels by factors of more than 100.”
  • NCASI
    National Council for Air and Stream Improvement

    “It should also be noted that the IARC evaluation seeks only to address the question of whether it is possible, under some set of circumstances, for an agent to be carcinogenic. It is not an assessment of risks and does not address the question of whether an agent is likely to be carcinogenic under realistic or feasible circumstances.”
  • Glyphosate and Cancer: What does the data say?
    University of Wyoming, Andrew Kniss

    “… based on the data I could find, I don’t see any evidence for alarm. And I say that as someone who is exposed to more glyphosate than a vast majority of the population.”
  • Letters to the Editor: Safe herbicide
    Tom Tunnel, Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Association

    “It’s time to be afraid, but not of glyphosate. I’m afraid of how science is ignored by quasi-government organizations such as the International Agency for Research on Cancer.”
  • Controversial WHO Report Links Roundup’s Active Ingredient To Cancer
    Western Plant Health Association

    CEO Renee Pinel criticized the study, arguing glyphosate has been widely studied for decades, and accepted as safe by organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • RISE issues statement on IARC’s glyphosate rating
    RISE

    According to RISE, IARC’s limited literature review ranks glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen,” a classification that is inconsistent with numerous multiyear, comprehensive assessments conducted by scientists from countries including the U.S. who are responsible for ensuring public health and safety.
    “This rating doesn’t support other agencies’ science intensive determinations, including the EPA or other leading nations’ regulatory findings,” says RISE President Aaron Hobbs. “U.S. EPA’s regulatory system ensures every pesticide product enters the market only when its safety has been assured.”
  • IARC Reclassification at Odds with Scientific Consensus on Safety of Glyphosate
    American Soybean Association

    “Soybean farmers are concerned first and foremost about the safety of their employees, their customers and neighbors in their communities, which is why this notification from the IARC is so confounding. From the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to its counterparts in Germany, Australia, Canada and elsewhere, we’ve seen risk assessment and safety agencies confirm the safety of glyphosate herbicide."
  • Wheat Growers Express Concern over IARC Glyphosate Reclassification
    National Association of Wheat Growers

    “Consumers can have faith that U.S. farmers and ranchers, including wheat growers, work tirelessly to provide the safest possible food for our families and theirs.”
  • Statement on IARC's Carcinogenic Review of Crop Protection Products
    CropLife International

    The IARC conclusions published in the Lancet Oncology contradict the world’s most robust regulatory systems – namely the European Union and the United States – where crop protection products have undergone extensive reviews based on multi-year testing and where active ingredients such as glyphosate and malathion been found not to present a carcinogenic risk to humans.

    CropLife International believes that IARC has made its conclusions as a result of an incomplete data review where key evidence has been omitted.
  • NCGA Denounces IARC Glyphosate Reclassification, Urges Prompt Reconsideration
    National Corn Growers Association

    “It is irresponsible to reclassify glyphosate in such a capricious manner as this decision both creates panic and has the potential to impact access to one of farmers’ main methods of combating weeds. While glyphosate is one of the most studied, trusted crop protection products available today, it is under political attack currently, and it is possible this impacted IARC’s decision.
  • Keeping Safe When Using Agrichemicals
    AGCARM (New Zealand Product Safety)

    Users of agrichemicals can be assured that these products are safe ... Agcarm will continue to work with the regulators to ensure every crop protection product goes through proper testing procedure and will only be sold when its safety has been assured.
  • CPA statement in response to IARC review of pesticides
    Crop Protection Association (UK)

    It’s extremely surprising that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has apparently disregarded a substantial body of scientific evidence supporting the conclusion that glyphosate is not a human health risk.
  • IARC deliver confusing and unconstructive list of potential carcinogens (NOTE: Not available online)
    CropLife Australia

    Every agricultural chemical product registered in Australia goes through a thorough scientific, evidence-based risk assessment, which assess any hazards associated with the product and determines the relevant risks to users, consumers and the environment. This process is far more scientifically rigorous than that carried out by the IARC.
  • European Crop Protection Association: ECPA Statement Reacting to IARC Review of Pesticides
    The IARC conclusions published in Lancet Oncology contradict the world’s most robust and stringent regulatory systems – namely the European Union and the United States – in which crop protection products have undergone extensive reviews based on multi-year testing and in which active ingredients such as glyphosate and malathion been found not to present a carcinogenic risk to humans
  • Glyphosate Task Force: Statement of the GTF on the recent IARC decision concerning glyphosate 
    Evaluations carried out by regulatory authorities across the world for over forty years have all confirmed that glyphosate poses no unacceptable risk to humans, animals or the environment. The Glyphosate Task Force (GTF) therefore does not accept the recent classification of glyphosate by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a Group 2A carcinogen.

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