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EPA and Other Regulators’ Assessments of IARC 


The EPA and other international regulators have assessed the scientific data and disagreed with the cancer classification for glyphosate reached in 2015 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), as have other international regulators.

Int’l Agency for Rsch. on Cancer, 112 Some Organophosphate Insecticides and Herbicides 142, World Health Org.

(Mar. 2015)

  • “There is limited evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of glyphosate. A positive association has been observed for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.” (p. 398) (emphasis in original)
  • “There is sufficient evidence in experimental animals for the carcinogenicity of glyphosate.” (p. 398) (emphasis in original)
  • “Glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A)(p. 398) (emphasis in original) 
  • “A cancer ‘hazard’ is an agent that is capable of causing cancer under some circumstances, while a cancer ‘risk’ is an estimate of the carcinogenic effects expected from exposure to a cancer hazard. . . . [T]he Monographs identify cancer hazards even when risks are very low at current exposure levels, because new uses or unforeseen exposures could engender risks that are significantly higher.” (p. 10)

EPA, Glyphosate: Proposed Interim Registration Review Decision

EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0361-2344 (Apr. 23, 2019)

  • “EPA’s cancer evaluation is more robust than IARC’s evaluation. IARC’s evaluation only considers data that have been published or accepted for publication in the openly available scientific literature. As a result IARC only considered a subset of the studies included in the EPA’s evaluation. For instance, IARC only considered 8 animal carcinogenicity studies while the agency used 15 acceptable carcinogenicity studies in its evaluation. (p. 7)
  • “The Agency’s cancer evaluation for glyphosate is also more transparent. EPA’s draft cancer evaluation was presented to a FIFRA SAP for external peer review. EPA solicited public comment on the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate as part of the SAP process, which is well-documented with an agenda, transcript, meeting notes, and final SAP report. EPA responded to the SAP report, addressed panel recommendations, and made revisions to its cancer assessment that were transparent and provided to the public. EPA also solicited public comment on its full human health and ecological risk assessment for glyphosate in February 2018. (p. 8)
  • “The EPA has not identified any new information received during the public comment period . . . that would result in changes to the conclusions of its cancer assessment. The agency’s cancer conclusion is consistent with other regulatory authorities and international organizations, including the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency, the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Authority, the European Food Safety Authority, the European Chemicals Agency, the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues, the New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority, and the Food Safety Commission of Japan.” (p. 8)

Fed. Inst. for Risk Assessment (BfR, Germany), BfR FAQ, Frequently asked questions regarding the different assessments of the carcinogenic effect of glyphosate by BfR and IARC

(Dec. 11, 2015)

  • “Due to the assessment approach used, the assessment of IARC is not in line with the assessments of BfR, EFSA and the competent national, European and other international institutions including the WHO/FAO Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR). (p. 1)
  • “Following a renewed review of its assessment of the health risk, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) came to the conclusion that, based on current knowledge, no carcinogenic risk to humans can be concluded if glyphosate is used in the proper manner and for the intended purpose. The experts from the authorities of the 28 EU member states and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) also reviewed all documents. The outcome of the final expert discussion formed the basis for the EFSA Conclusion, which is in agreement with the assessment of BfR.” (p. 1)

Health Canada, Pest Mgmt. Regulatory Agency, Re-evaluation Decision: Glyphosate

RVD2017-01 (Apr. 28, 2017)

  • “It is important to note that the IARC classification is a hazard classification and not a health risk assessment. This means that the level of human exposure, which determines the actual risk, was not taken into account by IARC. . . . Currently, no pesticide regulatory authority, including Health Canada, considers glyphosate to be a carcinogenic risk of concern to humans.”

EPA’s cancer evaluation is more robust than IARC’s evaluation.
Glyphosate: Proposed Interim Registration Review Decision
Two men standing in a field at sunset.