US government reaffirms safety of glyphosate

Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in US agriculture, used on more than 100 food crops
Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in US agriculture, used on more than 100 food crops

The US government has concluded glyphosate has no risks to public health and is not a carcinogen, despite thousands of lawsuits claiming the chemical causes cancer.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says its findings are 'consistent with the conclusions of science reviews by many other countries and other federal agencies'.

While the EPA did not identify public health risks in the 2017 human health risk assessment, the 2017 ecological assessment did identify ecological risks.

To address these risks, the agency is proposing management measures to help farmers target pesticide sprays on the intended pest, protect pollinators, and reduce the problem of weeds becoming resistant to glyphosate.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the agency 'found no risks to public health from the current registered uses of glyphosate'.

“Today’s proposed action includes new management measures that will help farmers use glyphosate in the most effective and efficient way possible, including pollinator protections,” he said.

“We look forward to input from farmers and other stakeholders to ensure that the draft management measures are workable, realistic, and effective.”

US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said 'all the tools' will be needed in order to feed 10 billion people by 2050.

“USDA applauds EPA’s proposed registration decision as it is science-based and consistent with the findings of other regulatory authorities that glyphosate does not pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans.”

Meanwhile, Monsanto suffered a second major blow in March as a federal jury in California found that its glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer caused a man's cancer.

It follows last year's case when a judge upheld a jury's verdict that Roundup caused school caretaker Dewayne Johnson's cancer.