Crop Biotech Update

EPA Regulatory Review: Glyphosate Has No Human Health Risks

February 5, 2020

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released the results of its regulatory review of glyphosate in January 2020 after receiving and considering public comments. In their interim decision, EPA continues to find that there are no risks of concern to human health when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label. According to the Interim Registration Review Decision, the agency has thoroughly evaluated the potential human health risk associated with exposure to glyphosate and concluded that there are no risks to human health from the currently registered uses of glyphosate and that glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.

Glyphosate is a widely used herbicide that controls broadleaf weeds and grasses and was first registered in 1974. EPA scientists conducted an independent evaluation of available data for glyphosate and found:

  • No risks of concern to human health from current uses of glyphosate. When used accordingly, glyphosate does not result in risks to children or adults.
  • No indication that children are more sensitive to glyphosate. After evaluating numerous studies from a variety of sources, the Agency found no indication that children are more sensitive to glyphosate from in utero or post-natal exposure. As part of this assessment, EPA evaluated all populations, including infants, children, and women of child-bearing age.
  • No evidence that glyphosate causes cancer in humans. The Agency concluded that glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans. EPA considered a significantly more extensive and relevant data set than the International Agency on the Research for Cancer (IARC).
  • No indication that glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor. Glyphosate has undergone Tier I screening under EPA's Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program and based on all available information, EPA concluded that existing data do not indicate that glyphosate has the potential to interact with the estrogen, androgen or thyroid signaling pathways.

From 1996 to 2018, herbicide tolerant (HT) crops, such as glyphosate and glufosinate tolerant crops, occupied the largest planting area of biotech crops. In 2018 alone, HT crops occupied 87.5 million hectares or 45% of the total 191.7 million hectares of biotech crops planted globally.

For more details, read the glyphosate interim decision on the EPA website.

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