EPA Postpones Its Glyphosate Review10/17/2016
The Environmental Protection Agency has postponed its scientific review of the carcinogenicity of glyphosate in order to get “additional expertise in epidemiology.”
The agency recently appointed nine members to a Science Review Board to serve on a Scientific Advisory Panel that was scheduled to meet next week to discuss the herbicide, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup. The review of the chemical’s human health impact is a key part of the registration process under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.
EPA’s full statement, sent by email Friday morning, says it is postponing the meeting “due to recent changes in the availability of experts for the peer review panel. Given the importance of epidemiology in the review of glyphosate’s carcinogenic potential, the agency believes that additional expertise in epidemiology will benefit the panel and allow for a more robust review of the data. As a result, the SAP meeting on glyphosate is being postponed to later in 2016. The agency will issue another announcement once the new date for the SAP meeting on glyphosate has been determined.”
In a brief statement, Monsanto cited EPA’s recent issue paper, which said the evidence strongly supports the conclusion that glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer in humans “at doses relevant to human health risk assessment.”
Monsanto said that conclusion is “based on the overwhelming weight of evidence” and that epidemiological data “clearly support this conclusion.”
“We are confident that when the SAP considers the thorough and complete data on glyphosate, the panel will reaffirm EPA’s science-based classification,” the company said.
Numerous scientists, companies, trade groups, environmental groups and individuals have already sent comments to the agency in anticipation of the meeting. CropLife America, which represents pesticide manufacturers, formulators and distributors, has been critical of EPA’s continued use of epidemiologic data in the absence of clear guidelines for how to use that data.
In the case of glyphosate, CropLife questioned the need for a SAP given EPA’s own review of the chemical’s carcinogenicity. “There is no scientific justification for another EPA review of glyphosate for carcinogenicity when the EPA (Cancer Assessment Review Committee) report of October 2015 found no concerns as to potential carcinogenicity,” Janet Collins, CropLife senior vice president for science and regulatory affairs, said in an Aug. 24 letter to the agency.
EPA has not yet responded to questions about whether scientists who were appointed to the Science Review Board are no longer available to serve on the panel or whether it plans to replace some of the members with new people who have specific expertise in epidemiology.