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You may have recently heard that glyphosate (Roundup’s main ingredient) could be a cause of cancer.
On March 20, 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer* (IARC) published the conclusion that it found five substances – including glyphosate – to be “possibly” or “probably” carcinogenic to humans. The news then rapidly spread in many media.
Since such news may naturally cause confusion and concerns amongst consumers, Roundup Garden would like to take to raise and answer a few important questions.
All glyphosate-based herbicides on the market meet rigorous standards of approval set by regulatory and health authorities to protect the public, including infants and children. In Europe, substances like glyphosate must undergo a rigorous periodical safety evaluation.
In fact, the latest re-evaluation process is currently on-going. Germany has been appointed as coordinator and has considered and reviewed all available data on glyphosate, including studies the IARC took into consideration. Yet, they concluded in December 2014:
“[...]the available data do not show carcinogenic or mutagenic properties of glyphosate nor that glyphosate is toxic to fertility, reproduction or embryonal/fetal development[...]“
Since March 20, German authorities have confirmed their conclusions and made clear in their statement that they found no correlation between glyphosate exposure and any type of cancer. These findings confirm what authorities worldwide have concluded on glyphosate.
If public authorities are so clear about glyphosate, one may then wonder how the IARC could come to so different conclusions. In this respect, Roundup Garden would like to draw you attention to an important point.
Public authorities and IARC play different roles. On the one hand, public authorities’ job is to make sure that the use of a substance like glyphosate does not expose us and the environment to risks. To do so, they consider all available data (including epidemiological data) over a long period of time and consider the use of the substance in the real world. On the other hand, the IARC is a research-driven agency. They look at data from a purely scientific perspective and do not take into consideration the use of the substance in the real world. IARC’s assessment tells us that glyphosate has a potential to cause cancer in a lab – like a number of substances and items we are daily exposed to (IARC’s classification includes for instance cell phones, the occupation of barbers and aloe vera extract). What authorities tell us however is whether this potential materializes in the real world, or not. In the case of glyphosate, they tell us it does not.
Consumers can therefore keep using Roundup without concerns, by following the label instructions.
For more information about glyphosate, do not hesitate to contact us.
*Based in Lyon (FR), the International Agency for Research on Cancer‘s role is to conduct and coordinate research into the causes of cancer. It also collects and publishes surveillance data regarding the occurrence of cancer worldwide and maintains a series of monographs on the carcinogenic risks to humans posed by a variety of agents, mixtures and exposures. The conclusions published on March 20, 2015 are an example of the latter.