The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released Monday a controversial analyses that rely heavily on industry studies to conclude that glyphosate poses no significant risks to humans.
The EPA review, which ignored the agency’s own guidelines for assessing cancer risks, contradicts a 2015 World Health Organization analysis of published research that determined glyphosate is a probable carcinogen.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup and most widely used pesticide in the world; 300 million pounds of it are used in the U.S. each year.
“The only way the EPA could conclude that glyphosate poses no significant risks to human health was to analyze industry studies and ignore its own guidelines when estimating cancer risk,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The EPA’s biased assessment falls short of the most basic standards of independent research and fails to give Americans an accurate picture of the risks posed by glyphosate use.”
A federal advisory panel of independent scientists unanimously found earlier this year that in assessing glyphosate the pesticides office at the EPA failed to follow its own guidelines for determining whether a chemical can cause cancer. In the final draft released today, the EPA stated that the guidelines “… are intended as a guidance only …” and do not necessarily have to be followed.
Scientists typically use previously agreed upon guidelines to prevent biases from swaying the analysis in one direction or another.
The chair of the EPA’s Cancer Assessment Review Committee, Jess Rowland, resigned in 2015 amid controversy. Emails obtained in litigation brought against Monsanto by cancer victims and their families uncovered a disturbingly cozy relationship between the EPA and Monsanto on matters involving the glyphosate risk assessment.