Join the PCN mailing list.
Lawyers, with teams of scientists and experts, are learning a lot about glyphosate. Their conclusions are different from the regulators’. Check out Into the Weeds on CBC Gem, about groundskeeper Dewane Lee Johnson’s cancer, and the landmark win in court against Monsanto (now owned by Bayer).
So, the world’s (and Canada’s) most-used weed-killer (“Roundup”) causes cancer, at least according to the courts where the research was reviewed and top experts were cross-examined. Bayer has now committed over $10 billion to compensate US plaintiffs who developed lymphoma after using glyphosate. Affected Canadians, so far, are out of luck.
The 2017 Canadian glyphosate re-registration is back at the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) for reconsideration of objections. Safe Food Matters (SFM) and interveners successfully argued in the Federal Court of Appeals that the SFM Notice of Objection presented scientifically founded doubt and that the PMRA did not fulfill its obligation to ensure that there was reasonable certainty of no harm to human health or the environment. Prevent Cancer Now and others also filed a Notice of Objection and followup to glyphosate re-registration.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is revising its 2017 Re-registration Eligibility Decision after the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found that the Agency had not adequately assessed environmental and human health, including cancer risks. It found that EPA had in many instances incorrectly applied its own Cancer Guidelines when providing reasons for why glyphosate was “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”
The EPA and PMRA worked together on the glyphosate re-registration decisions. They had a joint work plan (REV2010-02) to look at the same registrant studies and collaborated on the review of published literature. Many of the reasons provided by PMRA for why there is a “reasonable certainty of no harm” from glyphosate echo the EPA “not likely to be carcinogenic” reasons.
In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) determined that glyphosate probably causes cancer. IARC is the World Health Organization’s arm’s length Agency that convenes independent expert Working Groups to examine the full spectrum of the science and to assess whether one or a group of agents are unlikely, possibly, probably or known to cause cancer, or if there is insufficient evidence to come to a conclusion.
The US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry is a federal public health agency that, among other activities, compiles Toxicological Profiles. These profiles examine the scientific evidence for a wide range of potential harms – not only cancer.
The 2019 ATSDR draft Glyphosate Profile (archived here) includes clear evidence in figure 2-4 that glyphosate causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (nHL). At the bottom, “meta-analyses” are presented from various teams of scientists that reviewed and combined the human data to determine how likely it is that glyphosate causes nHL.
If the bar is centred on “1” (vertical line) then there are even odds for those exposed and those not exposed, to develop cancer. If the bar is completely to the right of the vertical line the probability is greater than 95% that glyphosate exposure caused the cancer. This figure corresponds to the referenced studies.
The 2020 final Profile (available from the ATSDR here) included research that was published in the interim, but also shifted the result for Chang and Delzell 2016, so that the highly significant results are now depicted as insignificant. There was no revision of the actual study, and the text description in the ATSDR report remained the same. This blatant misrepresentation on the highly-viewed summary figure simply appeared, unannounced and with no justification.
The 2020 final Profile included research that was published in the interim, but also shifted the result for Chang and Delzell 2016, so that the highly significant results are now depicted as insignificant.
The ATSDR has been alerted, and we await their response.
Be the first to know what comes next! To keep up to date regarding pesticides and our other cancer prevention work, please sign up for PCN’s occasional newsletters.