Meeting concludes that glyphosate is "unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans from exposure through the diet".
A joint meeting of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) panel of experts on pesticide residues in food and the environment and the World Health Organisation (WHO) Core Assessment Group on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) was held at WHO Headquarters from 9 to 13 May 2016 and concluded that "glyphosate is not carcinogenic in rats but could not exclude the possibility that it is carcinogenic in mice at very high doses.
In view of the absence of carcinogenic potential in rodents at humanrelevant doses and the absence of genotoxicity by the oral route in mammals, and considering the epidemiological evidence from occupational exposures, the meeting concluded that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans from exposure through the diet.
Diazinon, glyphosate and malathion were placed on the agenda by the JMPR Secretariat, based on the recommendation of the last session of JMPR to re-evaluate these compounds given the number of new studies that had become available since their last full assessments.
Manufacturer Monsanto said: "The main takeaway is that the conclusions of the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) for glyphosate, diazinon and malathion were favorable and came to a different conclusion than IARC on these three pesticides.
"Concerning glyphosate, we were not surprised by JMPR's positive conclusion, which is consistent with the findings of regulatory agencies around the world. The JMPR concluded that glyphosate presents a very low acute toxicity; that glyphosate is not associated with genotoxic effects in an overwhelming majority of studies conducted in mammals; and that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans from exposure through the diet. This rigorous conclusion is based on the overwhelming weight of evidence on glyphosate and should give greater confidence to consumers around the world."
Monsanto vice president global regulatory affairs Dr. Philip Miller said: "We welcome this rigorous assessment of glyphosate by another program of the WHO, which is further evidence that this important herbicide does not cause cancer."
Added Miller, "IARC's classification was inappropriate and inconsistent with the science on glyphosate. Based on the overwhelming weight of evidence, the JMPR has reaffirmed the findings of regulatory agencies around the world that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a cancer risk."
"Since the inconsistent and inappropriate classification of glyphosate by IARC last year, multiple regulatory agencies have again affirmed that glyphosate is not likely to cause cancer, including the European Food Safety Authority, the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency and the Food Safety Commission of Japan. In addition, the October 2015 report of the U.S. EPA's Cancer Assessment Review Committee also concluded that glyphosate is classified as "Not Likely to be Carcinogenic to Humans."
The European Commission could extend glyphosate's approval for nine years when it meets behind closed doors on 18-19 May.
The decision is due late on 19th May.
First published on hortweek.com, 16 May 2016, written by Matthew Appleby