Does glyphosate cause cancer? Jury says says ‘yes’ but years of research show the herbicide is safe

Can anyone make sense of the debate over glyphosate, the active molecule in the most widely used herbicide [Roundup] in the world?

[On August 10, a California jury awarded $289 million to a former school groundskeeper who said Monsanto’s Roundup left him dying of cancer. This article appeared in January, 2018.]

At the heart of the problem is the messy fact that when scientists and policymakers carelessly substitute risk for hazard, flawed conclusions are drawn.

….

This is an important factor to consider with regards to the glyphosate debate. When IARC announced in June 2015 that glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic” to humans, Kate Guyton, a toxicologist and lead author of the IARC monograph, stated that “because the evidence in laboratory animals was sufficient and the evidence in humans was limited, this places [glyphosate] in Group 2A [of probable carcinogens].” It was later revealed that IARC scientists had removed findings from studies that concluded glyphosate to be noncarcinogenic before publishing the final version. The edits were made in the monograph’s chapter on animal studies, which crucially informed IARC’s assessment that glyphosate causes cancer.

Related article:  Is glyphosate carcinogenic or not? Differing assessments lead to dispute in EU

[A] long-term observational analysis of the health effects of herbicides on 89,000 farmers and their families in Iowa and North Carolina …. Running since 1993…. has consistently failed to find that glyphosate use is linked with increased risk of cancer.

These findings have been backed up by other studies as well. Last year, the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization presented a joint review report on pesticide residue in indirectly exposed persons, including farming and production workers’ families, as well as consumers. The report did not find any evidence of increased risk of cancer from glyphosate exposure.

In this case because of the absence of evidence against glyphosate, we should be aware of the potential for hazard, but the chemical should be considered noncarcinogenic. Otherwise, the purpose of science itself, which will always entail some degree of uncertainty, is utterly undermined.

Read full, original article: How Do You Assess if a Chemical Causes Cancer?

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend