Glyphosate is likely not carcinogenic to humans, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says, again, in an issue paper posted to a federal regulatory website on Friday.
The paper’s release comes ahead of a scientific advisory panel meeting scheduled to run from Oct. 18 to Oct. 21 in Washington, D.C.
The paper, titled “Glyphosate Issue Paper: Evaluation of Carcinogenic Potential,” is a 227-page document outlining the voluminous studies examined by EPA to this point on the cancer-causing potential of the herbicide. To read the full document, visit http://dld.bz/…
The report comes after EPA posted and then removed from its website in May a final report from the agency’s Cancer Assessment Review Committee (CARC) http://bit.ly/…, that essentially cleared glyphosate. The agency said the report was posted inadvertently, but it caused further political and public-relations problems for the agency.
The paper quietly released Friday reaffirms the CARC conclusion.
Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world, but regulators in both Europe and the U.S. have been reviewing the science and market approval for the herbicide since the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s conclusions last year.
The issues paper posted to regulations.gov Friday offers a number of proposed conclusions for the D.C. panel to consider, based on volumes of studies reviewed by the agency. There are a number of scientific questions the EPA wants the panel to consider.
A Politico story this week cited a “former EPA official” as saying EPA may not release its assessment until April at the beginning of the next presidential administration. (http://politi.co/…)
There has been concern from agriculture interests and members of Congress that EPA is going to give weight to a conclusion by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in March 2015 that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
The EPA paper posted Friday said the IARC conclusion drew attention to a variety of studies EPA did not have or had not evaluated.
“As a result, EPA also requested information from registrants about studies that existed, but had never been submitted to the agency,” EPA said in the paper. “The current evaluation incorporates these additional studies.”
EPA says in the paper that “an extensive database” exists for evaluating glyphosate, including 23 epidemiological studies, 15 animal carcinogenicity studies, and nearly 90 genotoxicity studies.
“The available data at this time do no support a carcinogenic process for glyphosate,” the agency said in the paper.
“Overall, animal carcinogenicity and genotoxicity studies were remarkably consistent and did not demonstrate a clear association between glyphosate exposure and outcomes of interest related to carcinogenic potential.”
The paper also concludes “there was no evidence” of an association between glyphosate exposure and numerous cancers.
“The strongest support is for ‘not likely to be carcinogenic to humans’ at doses relevant to human health risk assessment,” the issue paper says.
Back in July, EPA posted a notice in the federal register looking for nominations to serve on the advisory panel and seeking comments on the subject. In that notice, EPA does not cite directly the work of the cancer assessment review committee as the basis for the panel.
A House Science, Space and Technology Committee investigation focuses not only on the inadvertent release of the EPA’s report, but whether there was any connection between the EPA’s analysis and conclusions reached by the IARC.
The House Committee on Agriculture also announced in May it was conducting oversight into EPA’s actions on glyphosate.
In a May 11 letter to EPA, House Ag Chairman Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Texas; ranking member Rep. Colin Peterson, D-Minn.; and Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., questioned the agency’s intentions on glyphosate.
“We are concerned that EPA has continually delayed its review of glyphosate,” the letter said. “In a hearing before this committee on May 13, 2015, one of our members specifically asked Assistant Administrator Jim Jones when EPA’s glyphosate review would be complete and whether EPA would continue to stand behind its previous assessment that glyphosate does not pose a serious cancer risk.
“Administrator Jones assured this committee that EPA’s review would be final in July 2015 and the agency would continue to stand behind its previous conclusions. Despite these assurances, no report was issued until the one posted on April 29, 2016, and removed on May 2, 2016.”
In June, Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, sent a letter to the National Institute of Health, which funds IARC, questioning the science behind IARC’s monograph on glyphosate and funding from the institute. The IARC has received about $39 million from the NIH since 1992, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.