Amid Lawsuits, EPA Again Proves Glyphosate Isn’t a Risk to Health

EPA Glyphosate Safe 050219
The label for over-the-top application of dicamba in soybeans and cotton has been extended through December 2020. ( Lindsey Benne )

This week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) again found glyphosate is safe when used according to label requirements. With this assessment, the agency issued an interim registration review decision to reapprove glyphosate for use in the U.S.

In its 2017 human health risk assessment, the agency didn’t find public health risks but did identify certain ecological risks. It created a management plan to help farmers target the herbicide against the farmer’s specific pest.

“Today’s proposed action includes new management measures that will help farmers use glyphosate in the most effective and efficient way possible, including pollinator protections,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in a recent press release. “We look forward to input from farmers and other stakeholders to ensure that the draft management measure are workable, realistic and effective.”

The agency’s findings are consistent with the conclusions of hundreds of other trials on the chemical. Glyphosate is the most widely used weed killer in the U.S. and is used on more than 100 food crops and in residential areas, aquatic areas, forests and other non-ag uses.

Because this is a review, once the Federal Register opens stakeholders will have the opportunity to provide comments on EPA’s review. Comments can be left at on docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0361. Public comments are due within 60 days of publication.

“Bayer firmly believes that the science supports the safety of glyphosate-based herbicides, which are some of the most thoroughly studied products of their kind, and is pleased that the regulators tasked with assessing this extensive body of science continue to reach favorable conclusions,” Bayer said in an emailed statement.

Glyphosate cancer trials are ongoing.

Despite this latest update from a government agency supporting glyphosate’s safety, trials against the popular herbicide continue. Last month, Bayer was hit with an $80 million bill for its liability in 70-year-old Edwin Hardeman’s Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma diagnosis by a California jury.

Bayer’s first case was against Dewayne Johnson who was awarded $289 million, which was later reduced to $78 million. Bayer filed to appeal this verdict on April 24, 2019.

In addition, the company has more than 11,000 additional plaintiffs who claim glyphosate caused them harm. Six more trials concerning the weed killer are scheduled to start in state and federal courts this year.