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Weighing risks of glyphosate should lead to mindful use not elimination

| | April 15, 2015

Late last month, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organization, issued a report that classified glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, as a “probable” cause of cancer. Glyphosate is the most heavily used herbicide on earth.

In 2012, at least 283.5 million pounds were sprayed on American farmlands, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Although the patent has now expired, Roundup was developed in 1974 by Monsanto and is often used in conjunction with crops like corn and soybeans that the company genetically modified to resist it. This allows farmers to kill weeds but not their crops.

The I.A.R.C. report should change none of that. The panel of seventeen scientists from around the world concluded that glyphosate could be dangerous. “ ‘Probable’ means that there was enough evidence to say it is more than possible, but not enough evidence to say it is a carcinogen,” Aaron Blair, a lead researcher on the I.A.R.C.’s study, said. Blair, a scientist emeritus at the National Cancer Institute, has studied the effects of pesticides for years.

The products we use every day, whether it’s glyphosate or the soap we use to wash our hands, always come with risks. But most of those products have benefits, too. And we need to ask ourselves what presents the greater danger: using products like glyphosate or not developing them at all.

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Read full, original article: Roundup and Risk Assessment

Related article:  Australia: 'No grounds' to ban Roundup, despite glyphosate-cancer controversy

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