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Environment

Glyphosate Unlikely To Cause Cancer, EU Agency Finds

Agrochemicals: European Food Safety Authority finding conflicts with WHO conclusions

by Britt E. Erickson
November 12, 2015

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide and many other generic formulations, is unlikely to damage DNA or to pose a risk of cancer to humans, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concludes. The acute toxicity of glyphosate, however, needs to be redefined, a new assessment from the agency says.

EFSA scientists and other EU experts examined human epidemiological data and animal studies on the toxicity of glyphosate. The agency is proposing an acceptable daily intake of 0.5 mg of glyphosate per kg of body weight for consumers and an acceptable exposure level of 0.1 mg/kg/day for workers who apply the herbicide. EFSA plans to work with European Union countries next year to set maximum residue levels for glyphosate on food.

EFSA’s conclusion on the carcinogenicity of glyphosate is at odds with that of the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Earlier this year, IARC concluded that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans. Environmental groups are claiming that glyphosate assessments in the EU and the U.S. have been heavily influenced by industry.

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