US EPA says popular weed killer glyphosate is not a carcinogen
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Tuesday that glyphosate, a chemical in many popular weed killers, is not a carcinogen, contradicting recent decisions by U.S. juries that found that it caused cancer in people.
The EPA announcement reaffirms earlier findings from the agency about the safety of glyphosate, the key ingredient in Bayer’s Roundup. The company faces thousands of lawsuits from Roundup users who allege it caused their cancer.
“EPA continues to find that there are no risks to public health when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label and that glyphosate is not a carcinogen,” the agency said in a statement.
Farmers spray glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in U.S. agriculture, on fields of soybeans and other crops that are genetically engineered to resist it. Roundup is also used by consumers on lawns, golf courses and elsewhere.
The EPA did previously find ecological risks from the chemical and has proposed new measures to protect the environment from glyphosate use by farmers and to reduce the problem of weeds becoming resistant to it.
Bayer did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company has repeatedly denied allegations that glyphosate and Roundup cause cancer, saying many studies and international regulators have deemed it safe.
But critics of the chemical disputed the EPA’s assurances.
“Unfortunately American consumers cannot trust the EPA assessment of glyphosate’s safety,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the environmental group Center for Biological Diversity.