A Prominent advocacy group is directing harsh criticism towards the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA,) after the regulator once again concluded that glyphosate- the active ingredient in Monsanto Roudup – is safe.
“The Trump EPA’s assertion that glyphosate poses no risks to human health disregards independent science findings in favor of confidential industry research and industry profits,” Lori Ann Burd, the Center for Biological Diversity’s director of environmental health, said in a statement issued on January 30th. “This administration’s troubling allegiance to Bayer/Monsanto and the pesticide industry doesn’t change the trove of peer-reviewed research by leading scientists finding troubling links between glyphosate and cancer.”
Glyphosate is the most popular weed killer in the world. But in March 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared glyphosate a probable human carcinogen, after an independent review linked occupational exposure to an increased risk of cancer, especially non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and its various subtypes.
Monsanto, which has since been acquired by Bayer AG, vehemently disputed the IARC conclusions and waged an aggressive campaign to discredit its review. According to the company’s critics, those efforts included manipulating positive glyphosate studies and leveraging a cozy relationship with the EPA and other regulators to unduly influence reviews of the herbicide.
But the IARC isn’t alone in raising cancer concerns. Just last year, for example, University of Washington researchers suggested glyphosate exposure increased the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma by as much as 41%. Then in April, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry said it couldn’t rule out a cancer link and called for further investigation.
Yet late last month, the EPA once again reiterated its conclusion that glyphosate is safe.
Bayer is currently defending more than 44,000 Monsanto Roundup lawsuits that allege glyphosate caused non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. So far, three juries have found evidence of a link between the herbicide and cancer compelling enough to award plaintiffs damages totaling more than $2 billion. The company has yet to win a single case.
Bayer continues to maintain that glyphosate is safe and is appealing all three Roundup verdicts. However, the company is also participating in court ordered mediation and has indicated it would be interested in an “economically reasonable” settlement. Earlier this year, Bloomberg News reported that the German-based conglomerate was considering a glyphosate settlement in the neighborhood of $10 billion.