WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2020 — Relying on confidential industry research, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a final interim decision today to reapprove glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto/Bayer’s Roundup and the world’s most heavily used pesticide.
The EPA’s assessment contradicts a 2015 World Health Organization analysis of published research that determined glyphosate is a probable carcinogen.
“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,” said Lori Ann Burd, the Center for Biological Diversity’s director of environmental health. “This administration’s troubling allegiance to Bayer/Monsanto and the pesticide industry doesn’t change the trove of peer-reviewed research, by leading scientists, that’s found troubling links between glyphosate and cancer.”
While today’s decision is called interim, the EPA’s practice is to issue interim, rather than final, decisions in its registration-review process for pesticides, which means this is akin to a final decision.
In addition to the World Health Organization’s conclusion, multiple U.S. federal agencies have acknowledged evidence of a link between glyphosate and cancer. This includes the EPA’s Office of Research and Development and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
Earlier this week the EPA’s Office of Inspector General announced it’s starting an audit to assess whether the EPA’s pesticide regulatory office adheres to pesticide registration risk assessment regulations, policies and procedures.
“The EPA’s pesticide office is clearly willing to bend over backwards, including disregarding its own guidelines for evaluating cancer risks, to give the industry what it wants,” said Burd. “This pesticide is heavily used on food crops, landscaping and even playgrounds, and the public deserves unbiased answers to the basic question of whether it’s safe.”
Emails obtained in litigation brought against Monsanto/Bayer by cancer victims and their families have uncovered a disturbingly cozy relationship between the EPA and the company on matters involving the glyphosate risk assessment.
In one example, when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced it would be reviewing glyphosate’s safety, an EPA official assured Monsanto he would work to thwart the review, saying, “If I can kill this, I should get a medal.”
The Health and Human Services review was delayed for three years and only recently released.
Monsanto/Bayer also enjoys broad support from the Trump White House. A domestic policy advisor in the Trump administration stated, “We have Monsanto’s back on pesticides regulation.”