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Deep dive analysis of glyphosate exposure-cancer link research

| | March 31, 2015
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

A little over a week ago, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced that glyphosate would be added to their list of agents that are “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Glyphosate wasn’t the only pesticide added to the list, but as Nathanael Johnson noted at Grist, glyphosate tends to be something of a lightning rod due to its association with genetically engineered (Roundup Ready) crops. And it should surprise nobody that Monsanto is vehemently denying any health concerns, while the usual suspects who oppose GMOs and pesticides are using it to advance their agendas.

Rather than simply re-state what others have said on the topic, I wanted to actually take a thorough look at the evidence supporting this classification. I work with pesticides (especially glyphosate) on a regular basis, so I take this classification very seriously. If glyphosate is indeed likely to cause cancer, I am in the group of people who is most likely to be affected. The general public is highly unlikely to see any ill effects from any agent with this classification based on available evidence.

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I may change my mind when the IARC’s full monograph is published later, but based on the data I could find, I don’t see any evidence for alarm. There is nothing here that I think can tarnish glyphosate’s reputation as a very safe pesticide. But that doesn’t mean that we should throw caution to the wind and douse ourselves in it. And for god’s sake, please stop saying things like “glyphosate is safe enough to drink.” Glyphosate is still a pesticide, after all. Proper protective equipment and procedures should be followed when any pesticide is used. But when used according to label directions, I think there is no reason to be scared whether you’re a homeowner trying to get rid of weeds in your sidewalk, or a commercial applicator spraying 1,000 acres of Roundup Ready corn.

Read full, original article: Glyphosate and Cancer: What does the data say?

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