Trump's EPA Defies Science, Proposes New Approval of Glyphosate
Agency Denies Herbicide's Carcinogenic Threat
Threats to Pollinators, Threatened and Endangered Species Left Unstudied
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a "proposed interim decision" on glyphosate's registration review, denying the pesticide's widely-accepted carcinogenic threat, while leaving leaving several critical assessments unfinished.
In 2015, the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) found glyphosate to be a probable human carcinogen, a determination supported by the medical science community. The State of California also lists glyphosate as a carcinogen under Prop 65. Juries have decided in favor of two cancer victims who sued Monsanto, a major glyphosate manufacturer, for failing to warn of the cancer risk posed by the company's glyphosate-based herbicides, and awarded them roughly $80 million each. Over 11,000 additional plaintiffs have similar cases pending. Monsanto was recently acquired by the German corporation Bayer.
"EPA and Monsanto continue to defy the science, and deny glyphosate's carcinogenic threat," said Bill Freese, Science Policy Analyst at Center for Food Safety. "Trump's EPA is apparently twisting the science in a vain attempt to help Monsanto defend itself against the many pending glyphosate-cancer lawsuits," he added.
The Agency issued yesterday's proposed interim decision on glyphosate despite its failure to complete numerous critical health and environmental assessments. EPA has not completed its assessment of glyphosate's potential to disrupt human hormonal systems; nor has it assessed the cancer-causing or other adverse health effects of glyphosate formulations, which contain additional ingredients that can be toxic in their own right, or increase glyphosate's adverse effects. EPA's assessment applies only to glyphosate, not the pesticide product formulations that people actually purchase and use.
EPA has also failed to complete its review of glyphosate's effects on threatened and endangered species, while it has not even begun to collect data on glyphosate's threats to pollinators, or decided which data are needed to make such a determination.
"With this Monsanto-appeasing announcement, EPA has essentially promised a green light before finishing—or in some cases starting—its homework," said George Kimbrell, Legal Director at the Center for Food Safety. "Farmworkers, our food safety, and endangered species are all legally entitled to much more. And because vital assessments are still incomplete, this public comment process is vitiated, robbing independent scientists and all affected parties their right to vet EPA's assessments."
EPA is requesting comments on its decision for the next 60 days.
For over twenty years, CFS has been the leading public interest group working for responsible regulation of glyphosate-resistant GMOs that have driven an enormous increase in the use of this hazardous herbicide, and triggered an epidemic of glyphosate-resistant weeds. CFS has also exposed glyphosate's adverse environmental impacts, including its substantial role in the decline of the Monarch butterfly, including submitting testimony to EPA regarding the carcinogenicity of glyphosate, citing internal EPA memos that document EPA's original finding that glyphosate is possibly carcinogenic, as well as Monsanto's intense pressure on EPA that led the Agency to alter its findings.