The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency identified glyphosate, a chemical used in the herbicide Roundup, as safe to use, in a decision on Friday. Photo ny Mike Mozart/Flickr/UPI
Jan. 31 (UPI) -- The herbicide glyphosate, an ingredient in the weed killing product Roundup, is safe to use, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Friday.
The EPA finalized an "interim registration decision" originally proposed in 2019, after which it sought public opinion. In a 36-page decision released Friday, it said that "after a thorough review of the best available science, as required under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, EPA has concluded that there are no risks of concern to human health when glyphosate is used according to the label and that it is not a carcinogen,"
It noted "insufficient evidence to conclude that glyphosate plays a role in any human diseases," but added that continuing study, called a full registration review, will likely continue until at least 2021.
The agency has been studying glyphosate since 2009, and the manufacturer is facing hundreds of lawsuits regarding the substance and its possible carcinogenic properties. Monsanto, which developed the product as an herbicide, merged with Bayer in 2018.
"The Trump EPA's assertion that glyphosate poses no risks to human health disregards independent science findings in favor of confidential industry research and industry profits," Lori Ann Burd of the Center for Biological Diversity said in a statement. "This administration's troubling allegiance to Bayer/Monsanto and the pesticide industry doesn't change the trove of peer-reviewed research, by leading scientists, that's found troubling links between glyphosate and cancer."
The statement from the CBD also noted that while Friday's decision is termed interim, "the EPA's practice is to issue interim, rather than final, decisions in its registration-review process for pesticides, which means this is akin to a final decision."
The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment has listed glyphosate as causing cancer since July 2017. Glyphosate was added to the state's Proposition 65 list, which requires businesses to warn customers about chemicals known to cause cancer.
A study by University of California, San Diego, researchers released in May 2019 noted that patients with liver disease had elevated urine levels of glyphosate, presumably from eating sprayed plants. Similarly, University of Washington researchers published results of a study in February 2019 indicating that glyphosate could increase the risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma by up to 41 percent.