Monday, May 14, 2018

EPA (Flawed) Draft Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessments for Glyphosate.

The US EPA has finally completed its (pseudo) Draft Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessments for Glyphosate. Tragically but unsurprisingly, the EPA (Every Poison Allowed) concludes that glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans; the EPA writes:

"The Agency’s assessment found no other meaningful risks to human health when the product is used according to the pesticide label. The Agency’s scientific findings are consistent with the conclusions of science reviews by a number of other countries as well as the 2017 National Institute of Health Agricultural Health Survey.

EPA’s human health review evaluated dietary, residential/non-occupational, aggregate, and occupational exposures. Additionally, the Agency performed an in-depth review of the glyphosate cancer database, including data from epidemiological, animal carcinogenicity, and genotoxicity studies.

The ecological risk assessment indicates that there is potential for effects on birds, mammals, and terrestrial and aquatic plants. EPA used the most current risk assessment methods, including an evaluation of the potential effects of glyphosate exposure on animals and plants. Full details on these potential effects as well as the EPA’s methods for estimating them, can be found within the ecological risk assessment."

However, Beyond Pesticides has written a damning letter to the EPA highlighting and explaining the numerous and blatant scientific flaws that plague the EPA's pseudo risk assessment of glyphosate. As Beyond Pesticides write in their concluding remarks:

" However, the EPA has taken a myopic approach to its risk assessment. As debate surrounds glyphosate’s cancer classification and overall safety, the agency fails to consider actual product formulations that present exposures to the public. People are questioning whether the Roundup products they buy at the local garden store and sprayed on their food can increase their risk of cancer. EPA’s human health assessment does NOT answer this question. 

EPA chose to ignore the wealth of evidence that show glyphosate-formulated products are more toxic then glyphosate alone. This evidence shows formulated products lead to cell death, potential endocrine disruption, liver damage, and cancer. On the contrary, EPA’s ecological assessment does find it relevant to include glyphosate formulations in assessing exposures to non-target organisms, which affirms the higher toxicity of formulated products.

We urge the agency to hasten its collaboration with the US National Toxicology Program (NTP) to evaluate glyphosate formulations and their impacts on human health. Until such assessments are completed, this human health assessment should be interpreted with caution as its findings are misleading and incomplete. Given glyphosate’s association with increased weed resistance, making it harder and more expensive for farmers to farm, habitat loss, and water contamination, uses of glyphosate must be restricted." 

NTP Research Plan

" NTP is currently pursuing glyphosate and glyphosate formulations research. Human exposure to glyphosate usually occurs in the form of glyphosate-based formulations. Few studies have made side-by-side comparisons of the toxicity of glyphosate and glyphosate-based formulations using the same experimental protocols and endpoints. Also, there have been few direct comparisons of the toxicity of different glyphosate products.

Many existing studies of glyphosate and glyphosate-based formulations have focused on whether they induce DNA damage (genetic toxicity) and/or oxidative stress, as both are mechanisms that contribute to carcinogenesis (Smith et al., 2016).

As part of the research plan, NTP will use in vitro and in vitro approaches to further investigate whether glyphosate and glyphosate-based formulations can induce genetic toxicity and/or oxidative stress. Furthermore, NTP will use a transcriptomics (changes in gene expression) approach in vitro to examine whether any other biological perturbations are caused by the test articles. This research effort to interrogate key outcomes will aid interpretation of the existing literature on glyphosate and glyphosate-based formulations. " Link:…/areas/glyphosate/index.html

Mike DeVito, acting chief of the National Toxicology Program Laboratory, told the Guardian the agency’s work is ongoing but its early findings are clear on one key point. “We see the formulations are much more toxic. The formulations were killing the cells. The glyphosate really didn’t do it,” DeVito said. A summary of the NTP work stated that glyphosate formulations decreased human cell “viability”, disrupting cell membranes. Cell viability was “significantly altered” by the formulations, it stated.

Monsanto has never tested the toxicity of its Roundup "secret" formulation

Internal emails from Monsanto reveal that Monsanto never tested the toxicity of Roundup; In a 2003 internal Monsanto email, Monsanto's lead toxicologist Donna Farmer wrote: “You cannot say that Roundup is not a carcinogen … we have not done the necessary testing on the formulation to make that statement. The testing on the formulations are not anywhere near the level of the active ingredient.” Another Monsanto internal email written in 2010 stated: “With regards to the carcinogenicity of our formulations we don’t have such testing on them directly.” And an internal Monsanto email from 2002 stated: “Glyphosate is OK but the formulated product … does the damage.” Source:…/weedkiller-tests-monsanto-hea…

The EPA's final decision for the re-approval of glyphosate/Roundup/GBH in the US is due in 2019.

 The battle continues...

Arya Vrilya

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