This has been a difficult couple of months for glyphosate following the International Agency for Research on Cancer's (IARC) recent classification of glyphosate as a group 2A "probable carcinogen. Now, though, we've got the formal confirmation of something we knew all along: glyphosate doesn't pose any threat to the endocrine system.
Since 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been reviewing the test orders (requests for data) of several widely used herbicides and pesticides, including glyphosate, as part of the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP). Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can interfere with hormone systems and cause adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in mammals. Glyphosate was included in the programme purely because of its extensive use and therefore high exposure potential, not because it was deemed to be particularly hazardous.
On 29 June, the EPA released a memorandum concluding that "glyphosate demonstrates no convincing evidence of potential interaction with estrogen, androgen or thyroid pathways in mammals. It also said that the next level of testing "is not recommended for glyphosate since there was no convincing evidence of potential interaction with estrogen, androgen or thyroid pathways. In short, glyphosate doesn't pose any threat to the endocrine system.
This is reassuring news for the millions of farmers around the world who use glyphosate-based products to control weeds in their fields and protect their harvests. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, the world's best selling weed killer, is currently up for its routine, 10-year renewal by the European Union. The review has made glyphosate a target of anti-pesticide activists worldwide and the subject of many a negative social media campaign.
At Monsanto, we are committed to providing farmers, regulators and consumers with regular updates on glyphosate safety and benefits research. We know our products present no unacceptable risks when used in accordance with instructions, while they do offer farmers and society significant value. The EPA's finding provides a factual, science-based response to all the unscientific nonsense about glyphosate that seems to dominate social media.
To read more on the EPA and the EDSP, please visit http://www.epa.gov/endo/.