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Regulators Consider Testing Food for Roundup Herbicide, ‘Probably Carcinogenic to Humans’

Regulators Consider Testing Food for Roundup Herbicide, ‘Probably Carcinogenic to Humans’

The Environmental Protection Agency is considering adjusting its classification of the herbicide, which was previously thought to be safe.

Federal regulators at the Environmental Protection Agency are considering testing food products for residues of glyphosate, the active ingredient in the Roundup herbicide. Glyphosate has become the world’s most widely used herbicide, and is used on a number of crops genetically modified to withstand its treatment, including wheat, corn, soy beans, and other crops.

Thus far, the use of the herbicide is considered safe by EPA guideline, and as such, the government does not currently test for glyphosate residues.

However, the herbicide has recently become a significantly more controversial substance.

Last month, the World Health Organization published research that identified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” The WHO also noted that the herbicide had been detected “in the air during spraying, in water, and in food.”

In widely publicized footage, a scientist appeared on French television weeks ago to insist that glyphosate is so safe that “you can drink a whole quart of it and it won’t hurt you,” and then turned down the chance to do so, telling the host, “I’m not stupid.”

In an email to Reuters, the EPA confirmed, “Given increased public interest in glyphosate, EPA may recommend sampling for glyphosate in the future."


Regulators Consider Testing Food for Roundup Herbicide, ‘Probably Carcinogenic to Humans’ - Recipes

The widespread adoption of glyphosate-based products is due not only to their effectiveness and extensive economic and environmental benefits, but also due to the strong safety profile of these products.

When it comes to safety assessments, glyphosate is among the most extensively tested pesticides on the market. Evaluations spanning more than 40 years, and the overwhelming conclusion of experts and regulators worldwide, support the safety of glyphosate and that glyphosate does not cause cancer.

Regulatory authorities routinely review all approved pesticide products. Most recently, in January 2020, the U.S. EPA published its Interim Registration Review Decision on glyphosate and stated “EPA has thoroughly evaluated potential human health risk associated with exposure to glyphosate and determined that there are no risks to human health from the current registered uses of glyphosate and that glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”

The EPA’s latest decision on glyphosate adds to the overwhelming consensus among leading expert health regulators worldwide for more than 40 years that these products can be used safely, and that glyphosate does not cause cancer. In addition to the U.S. EPA, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), and the leading health authorities in Germany, Australia, Korea, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, and elsewhere around the world continue to conclude that glyphosate-based products are safe when used as directed and that glyphosate does not pose a carcinogenic risk.

What the Experts Say:

Additionally, the most comprehensive epidemiologic study – the independent 2018 National Cancer Institute-supported Agricultural Health Study that followed over 50,000 licensed pesticide applicators for more than 20 years and was published after the IARC monograph – found no association between glyphosate-based herbicides and cancer. 6

Glyphosate’s Classification by IARC

One non-regulatory organization presented a classification of glyphosate that was inconsistent with experts and regulatory authorities around the world – this organization was the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a sub-agency of the World Health Organization (WHO). In March 2015, IARC gave glyphosate a classification of “Category 2A: probably carcinogenic” despite evidence to the contrary. IARC is one of four programs within the WHO that has reviewed glyphosate, and the only one to have made such a finding.

IARC is not a regulatory authority and conducted no independent studies. IARC is the same organization that determined beer, meat, cell phones and hot beverages cause cancer or are likely to cause cancer.

IARC’s opinion is inconsistent with the overwhelming consensus of regulatory authorities and other experts around the world, who have assessed all the studies examined by IARC – and many more – and found that glyphosate presents no carcinogenic risk. Since IARC classified glyphosate in March 2015, regulatory authorities in the United States, Europe, Canada, Korea, Japan, New Zealand and Australia have publicly reaffirmed that glyphosate-based herbicides can be used safely and that glyphosate does not pose a carcinogenic risk.

In January 2020, the U.S. EPA explained that “EPA considered a significantly more extensive and relevant dataset than the International Agency on the Research for Cancer (IARC). EPA’s database includes studies submitted to support registration of glyphosate and studies EPA identified in the open literature. For instance, IARC only considered eight animal carcinogenicity studies while EPA used 15 acceptable carcinogenicity studies. EPA does not agree with IARC’s conclusion that glyphosate is ‘probably carcinogenic to humans.’ EPA’s cancer classification is consistent with other international expert panels and regulatory authorities, including the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency, Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Authority, European Food Safety Authority, European Chemicals Agency, German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority, and the Food Safety Commission of Japan and the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization (FAO/WHO) Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR).”

Safety Research on Herbicide Residues

Before crop protection products like glyphosate can be approved for use, scientific evaluations are conducted to determine potential risk of residues. If the risk is too high, the product never makes it to market.

For products that pass scientific evaluation, the next step is to submit the studies to government regulators who review them and establish their own safe levels of residues, and then constantly monitor harvests to ensure those levels are not exceeded.

Understanding Residues

All crops will contain trace amounts of elements that are used or present in the environment in which they are grown. Thanks to incredible advances in technology, experts are now able to detect certain substances in units as small as one part per billion. For context, part per billion would be the equivalent of one drop of water in an Olympic-size swimming pool. These advances give scientists great confidence in their ability to ensure that food is safe.


U.S. Regulators May Start Testing Food For Glyphosate Residues

U.S. regulators may start testing food products for residues of the world’s most widely used herbicide, EPA told Reuters’ Carey Gillam on Friday, as public concern rises over possible links to disease.

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, has come under intense scrutiny since a research unit of the World Health Organization reported last month it was classifying glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

The herbicide is considered safe by the EPA, as well as many foreign regulatory agencies, including in the European Union.

Still, a number of companies, consumer groups and advocacy organizations have been sampling foods, as well as human urine and breast milk, to try to determine the pervasiveness of glyphosate residues.

Glyphosate is used on corn, soybeans, sugar beets and other crops genetically altered to withstand it. It is also used by farmers growing wheat and other crops. Its use has surged with the advancement of genetically engineered crops.


Scientific Consensus Statement Reveals Monsanto’s Roundup Herbicide a Major Health Threat

A powerful new review on the toxicity of glyphosate signals a growing consensus among non-industry-sponsored scientists that the relatively unmonitored and unregulated exposure to this ubiquitous toxicant can no longer be promoted as a justifiable risk. The review is open access and can be downloaded as a PDF and/or read in its entirety here.

The newly released consensus statement published in the journal Environmental Health and titled, “Concerns over use of glyphosate-based herbicides and risks associated with exposures: a consensus statement,” identified the broad spectrum herbicide glyphosate (common trade name “Roundup”) as major threat to human and environmental health.

Identified as having increased in usage 100-fold since the late 1970’s, the study predicts glyphosate usage will increase to even greater amounts due to,”widespread emergence of glyphosate-resistant weeds and new, pre-harvest, dessicant use patterns.” Oats, for example, are commonly sprayed with glyphosate as a pre-harvest dessicant, even though it is legal to label them “non-GMO,” as we recently reported on in connection with the product Cheerios.

The study also identified a key regulatory problem associated with increased glyphosate exposure: “To accommodate changes in GBH [glyphosate based herbicide] use patterns associated with genetically engineered, herbicide-tolerant crops, regulators have dramatically increased tolerance levels in maize, oilseed (soybeans and canola), and alfalfa crops and related livestock feeds.” In a previous report titled, “EPA to America People: ‘Let Them Eat Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Cake,” we discussed the EPA’s role in covering up the increasingly dire glyphosate accumulation in our food supply by arbitrarily increasing its permissible levels without regard to the obvious health risks. This is all the more disturbing considering recent research has demonstrated it has the potential to act as a carcinogenic/estrogenic endocrine disrupter in the parts per trillion range.

Owing to the fact that animal and epidemiology studies clearly point to glyphosate exposure having serious health risks (see the GreenMedInfo.com toxicity database on glyphosate to read the first-hand literature on the topic), as well as the fact that the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer recently concluded that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans,” the scientists who authored the new paper produced a Statement of Concern, summarized into the following seven concerns:

(1) GBHs are the most heavily applied herbicide in the world and usage continues to rise

(2) Worldwide, GBHs often contaminate drinking water sources, precipitation, and air, especially in agricultural regions

(3) The half-life of glyphosate in water and soil is longer than previously recognized

(4) Glyphosate and its metabolites are widely present in the global soybean supply

(5) Human exposures to GBHs are rising

(6) Glyphosate is now authoritatively classified as a probable human carcinogen

(7) Regulatory estimates of tolerable daily intakes for glyphosate in the United States and European Union are based on outdated science.

While there are dozens of glaring problems addressed in this report, we would like to highlight the following five points of concern:

Food Contamination Not Adequately Studied: “Adequate surveys of GBH contamination in foodproducts have not as yet been conducted on a large scale, even in the U.S. The first and only in-depth USDA testing of glyphosate and AMPA residues in food targeted soybeans, and occurred once in 2011 [13]. Of the three hundred samples tested, 90.3 % contained glyphosate at a mean level of 1.9 ppm, while 95.7 % contained AMPA at 2.3 ppm. In contrast, the next highest residue reported by USDA in soybeans was malathion, presentat 0.026ppm in just 3.7% of samples. Thus, the mean levels of glyphosate and AMPA in soybeans were 73-fold and 83-fold higher than malathion, respectively.”

Toxicity Research Not Valid: “Most toxicological studies using advanced, modern tools and experimental designs within molecular genetics, reproductive, developmental, endocrinological, immunological and other disciplines have been undertaken in academic and research institute laboratories, and results have been published in peer-reviewed journals. Regulators have not incorporated, formally or indirectly, such research into their risk assessments. Rather, they rely on unpublished, non-peer reviewed data generated by the registrants. They have largely ignored published research because it often uses standards and procedures to assess quality that are different from those codified in regulatory agency data requirements, which largely focus on avoiding fraud [ 79 ]. Additionally, endocrine-disruption study protocols have not been codified by regulators 8.”

Industry Allowed To Hide Ingredients: “The full list of chemicals in most commercial GBHs is protected as”confidential business information,” despite the universally accepted relevance of such information to scientists hoping to conduct an accurate risk assessment of these herbicide formulations.”

Biomonitoing of Human Exposure Absent Globally: “Large-scale and sophisticated biomonitoring studies of the levels of glyphosate, its metabolites, and other components of GBH mixtures in people have not been conducted anywhere in the world. Biomonitoring studies should include measurement of glyphosate residues, metabolites, and adjuvants in blood and urine to obtain meaningful insights into internal contamination levels and the pharmacokinetics of GBHs within vertebrates 7”

The researchers suggest that in order to fill the gap created by an absence of government funds to support essential research on glyphosate based formulations a system should be employed through which manufacturers fund the process:

[W]e recommend that a system be put in place through which manufacturers of GBHs provide funds to the appropriate regulatory body as part of routine registration actions and fees. Such funds should then be transferred to appropriate government research institutes, or to an agency experienced in the award of competitive grants. In either case, funds would be made available to independent scientists to conduct the appropriate long-term (minimum 2 years) safety studies in recognized animal model systems. A thorough and modern assessment of GBH toxicity will encompass potential endocrine disruption, impacts on the gut microbiome, carcinogenicity, and multigenerational effects looking at reproductive capability and frequency of birth defects.

As the world becomes increasingly aware of the dangers of glyphosate-based formulations, and the scientific community begins to muster the courage to speak out, there is a growing sense of hope that glyphosate and glyphosate-based farming techniques will be phased out in favor of non-toxic, far more sustainable food production methods. Perhaps the best way to enact this change is to vote with your fork and dollar, making sure to buy only truly organically produced food and related commodities whenever possible.

Recommended articles by Sayer Ji:

About the author:

Sayer Ji is on the Board of Governors for the National Health Federation and Fearless Parent, Steering Committee Member of the Global GMO Free Coalition (GGFC), a reviewer at the International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine, and founder of GreenMedInfo.com – an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities.

In 1995 Sayer received a BA degree in Philosophy from Rutgers University, where he studied under the American philosopher Dr. Bruce W. Wilshire, with a focus on the philosophy of science. In 1996, following residency at the Zen Mountain Monastery in upstate New York, he embarked on a 5 year journey of service as a counsellor-teacher and wilderness therapy specialist for various organizations that serve underprivileged and/or adjudicated populations. Since 2003, Sayer has served as a patient advocate and an educator and consultant for the natural health and wellness field.


What’s the Risk?

So how much should a parent worry about what they’re feeding their kids?

Experts are divided on this point. In 2015, the respected International Agency for Research on Cancer declared that glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic to humans.” There are efforts under way in Europe to ban the chemical. More than 1 million people signed a petition calling on the European Union to prohibit its use, and Germany announced plans to stop its use there by 2021.

Yet in 2017, the EPA said the chemical was “not likely” to cause cancer in people.

“This is where it gets tricky. This isn’t straightforward,” says Michael Davoren, PhD, who studies molecular toxicology at UCLA. He was not involved in the Environmental Working Group’s tests.

Olga Naidenko, PhD, the Environmental Working Group’s senior science advisor for children’s environmental health, says glyphosate shouldn’t be in food, especially the foods we feed to young children.

“We believe that toxic pesticides, especially ones that may be linked to cancer, really don’t belong in the diet,” she says.

But even Naidenko and her co-author, toxicologist Alexis Temkin, PhD, say the odds of getting cancer from eating glyphosate-contaminated oats are really low.

Based on their own calculations, they say a single serving of most of the foods they tested, eaten each day for a lifetime, would cause just one additional case of cancer in every million people.

“That’s such a low increased risk to speculate about,” Davoren says. “When you’re dealing with something like that, a 1-in-a-million increased risk of cancer, I would say that isn’t a significant level to be particularly concerned about.”

He says the risk definitely wouldn’t outweigh the health benefits of eating oats, which are high in fiber and low in fat.

In a statement, Monsanto, a company that makes Roundup and other glyphosate-based products, said “the EWG’s claim about cancer is false. Glyphosate does not cause cancer. Glyphosate has a more than 40-year history of safe use. Over those four decades, researchers have conducted more than 800 scientific studies and reviews that prove glyphosate is safe for use.”

Does that mean glyphosate is safe? You could say the jury is still out on that, but actually, one jury is in back in, and they didn’t think so.

Last week, jurors in California found Monsanto liable for causing cancer in a 46-year-old groundskeeper, Dewayne Johnson. Johnson was awarded $250 million in punitive damages after the jury said the company failed to warn the public about its products’ health risks. Johnson’s case is only the first to come to trial. The company faces thousands of similar challenges across the U.S.


US Regulators May Recommend Testing Food For Glyphosate Residues

The Monsanto logo is displayed on a chemical barrel at the Crop Protection Services facility in Manlius, Illinois, March 20, 2015. The company's plan to slash 1,000 more jobs will bring total planned job cuts to 3,600. Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

(Reuters) - U.S. regulators may start testing food products for residues of the world's most widely used herbicide, the Environmental Protection Agency told Reuters on Friday, as public concern rises over possible links to disease.

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, has come under intense scrutiny since a research unit of the World Health Organization reported last month it was classifying glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans."

The herbicide is considered safe by the EPA, as well as many foreign regulatory agencies, including in the European Union.

Still, a number of companies, consumer groups and advocacy organizations have been sampling foods, as well as human urine and breast milk, to try to determine the pervasiveness of glyphosate residues.

Glyphosate is used on corn, soybeans, sugar beets and other crops genetically altered to withstand it. It is also used by farmers growing wheat and other crops. Its use has surged with the advancement of genetically engineered crops.

The U.S. government, which annually tests thousands of foods for pesticide residues, does not test for glyphosate, in part because it has been considered safe.

That could change, the EPA said in a statement Friday.

"Given increased public interest in glyphosate, EPA may recommend sampling for glyphosate in the future," the agency said in an email response to a Reuters inquiry.

Monsanto Co, the maker of Roundup, on April 1 posted a blog seeking to reassure consumers about glyphosate residues, saying trace amounts are safe. It did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The EPA said the ultimate decision rests with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and its Pesticide Data Program. In the past, the EPA had advised the USDA that "glyphosate residues do not pose a risk to human health," the EPA said.

However, Peter Wood, spokesman for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said the "EPA makes the determination which commodities and pesticides are tested." He said that sampling is based on EPA "data needs" and EPA has so far not requested glyphosate testing on any commodity.

Both agencies said that testing for glyphosate residues would be more costly than for other pesticides.

Since 1991, the USDA's testing program has tested thousands of food samples each year for residues. It informs the USDA whether residues exceed tolerance levels for the pesticides set by the EPA.

In 2013, the USDA tested for about 400 different pesticides on a variety of foods as well as in groundwater and drinking water.

Only in one year, 2011, did the agency conduct testing for glyphosate. Those tests, on 300 soybean samples, found 271 of the samples had residues. All of them fell below the EPA-set tolerance level of 20 parts per million, with residues ranging from 0.26 to 18.5 ppm.


U.S. regulators may recommend testing food for glyphosate residues

(Canada Beef Inc. photo)

Reuters — U.S. regulators may start testing food products for residues of the world’s most widely used herbicide, the Environmental Protection Agency told Reuters on Friday, as public concern rises over possible links to disease.

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, has come under intense scrutiny since a research unit of the World Health Organization reported last month it was classifying glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

The herbicide is considered safe by the EPA and by many foreign regulatory agencies, including in the European Union.

Still, a number of companies, consumer groups and advocacy organizations have been sampling foods, as well as human urine and breast milk, to try to determine the pervasiveness of glyphosate residues.

Glyphosate is used on corn, soybeans, sugar beets and other crops genetically altered to withstand it. It is also used by farmers growing wheat and other crops. Its use has surged with the advancement of genetically engineered crops.

The U.S. government, which annually tests thousands of foods for pesticide residues, does not test for glyphosate, in part because it has been considered safe.

That could change, the EPA said in a statement Friday.

“Given increased public interest in glyphosate, EPA may recommend sampling for glyphosate in the future,” the agency said in an email response to a Reuters inquiry.

Monsanto, the maker of Roundup, on April 1 posted a blog seeking to reassure consumers about glyphosate residues, saying trace amounts are safe. It did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The EPA said the ultimate decision rests with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and its Pesticide Data Program. In the past, the EPA had advised the USDA that “glyphosate residues do not pose a risk to human health,” the EPA said.

However, USDA spokesperson Peter Wood said the “EPA makes the determination which commodities and pesticides are tested.” He said that sampling is based on EPA “data needs” and EPA has so far not requested glyphosate testing on any commodity.

Both agencies said that testing for glyphosate residues would be more costly than for other pesticides.

Since 1991, USDA’s testing program has tested thousands of food samples each year for residues. It informs the USDA whether residues exceed tolerance levels for the pesticides set by the EPA.

In 2013, USDA tested for about 400 different pesticides on a variety of foods as well as in groundwater and drinking water.

Only in one year, 2011, did the agency conduct testing for glyphosate. Those tests, on 300 soybean samples, found 271 of the samples had residues. All of them fell below the EPA-set tolerance level of 20 parts per million, with residues ranging from 0.26 to 18.5 ppm.

In Canada, the federal health department’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency recently released a proposed re-evaluation decision on glyphosate, in which it finds dietary risks to people from exposure through food and water are “not of concern.”

Carey Gillam is a Reuters correspondent covering agribusiness from Kansas City.

CORRECTION, April 20, 2015: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Peter Wood as an FDA spokesperson.


World Health Organization: Glyphosate ‘Probably Carcinogenic’

Following an extensive review of published research on glyphosate, the International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded in March 2015 that the herbicide is “probably carcinogenic.” The agency is part of the United Nations’ World Health Organization.

Its statement noted only “limited evidence” that glyphosate may cause cancer in humans. The agency said it based its decision on “sufficient evidence” that the chemical had caused cancer in tests on animals.

The agency had also looked at other research that had found strong evidence that glyphosate-based pesticides can damage genes. This is called genotoxicity and can lead to cancer.

The 2015 report stressed the amount of exposure and the way the chemical gets into the body play major roles in whether a person develops cancer.


Regulators Consider Testing Food for Roundup Herbicide, ‘Probably Carcinogenic to Humans’ - Recipes

How Monsanto Captured the EPA (And Twisted Science) To Keep Glyphosate on the Market

Since 1973, Monsanto has cited dubious science, like tests on the uteri of male mice, and the EPA has let much of it slide.

Valerie Brown and Elizabeth Grossman
Illustrations by Jean-Luc Bonifay

November 1, 2017 | Special Investigation | November 2017 Issue

In April 2014, a small grassroots group called Moms Across America announced that it had tested 10 breast milk samples for glyphosate, and found the chemical in three of them. Glyphosate is the world&rsquos most widely used herbicide and the primary ingredient of Roundup. Although the levels of glyphosate found by Moms Across America were below the safety limits the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set for drinking water and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has set for food, the results caused a stir on social media.

The Moms Across America testing was not part of any formal scientific study, but Monsanto&mdashthe owner of the Roundup trademark and the premier glyphosate manufacturer&mdashjumped to defend its most profitable pesticide based on a new study that found no glyphosate in breast milk. But this research, purported to be &ldquoindependent,&rdquo was actually backed by the corporation itself.

&ldquoAnybody who finds out about this is not going to trust a chemical company over a mom, even if [that mom] is a stranger,&rdquo says Moms Across America founder Zen Honeycutt. &ldquoA mother&rsquos only special interest is the well-being of her family and her community.&rdquo Honeycutt says she has been sharply criticized for the breast milk project because it was not a formal scientific study. But she says her intention was &ldquoto find out whether or not glyphosate was getting in our breast milk, and if it was, to have further scientific studies conducted and therefore to provoke a movement so that policies would be changed.&rdquo

Everyone is exposed to glyphosate: Residues of the herbicide are found in both fresh and processed foods, and in drinking water nationwide. More and more research suggests that glyphosate exposure can lead to numerous health issues, ranging from non-Hodgkin lymphoma and kidney damage to disruption of gut bacteria and improper hormone functioning.

The Moms Across America episode fits a pattern that has emerged since 1974, when the EPA first registered glyphosate for use: When questions have been raised about the chemical&rsquos safety, Monsanto has ensured that the answers serve its financial interests, rather than scientific accuracy and transparency. Our two-year investigation found incontrovertible evidence that Monsanto has exerted deep influence over EPA decisions since glyphosate first came on the market&mdashvia Roundup&mdashmore than 40 years ago.

We have closely examined the publicly available archive of EPA documents from the earliest days of the agency&rsquos consideration of glyphosate. Significant portions of the relevant documents have either been partially redacted or omitted entirely. But this archived material reveals that EPA staff scientists, who found much of the data submitted by Monsanto unacceptable, did place great weight upon a 1983 mouse study that showed glyphosate was carcinogenic.

From the November issue of the new In These Times.

In April 2015, in the wake of news that the Department of Health and Human Services was going to examine glyphosate, Dan Jenkins, a Monsanto executive, reported to his colleagues that Jess Rowland, a deputy director in the EPA Office of Pesticide Programs, had told him, “If I can kill this, I should get a medal.”

Yet their interpretation was subsequently reversed by EPA upper management and advisory boards, apparently under pressure from Monsanto. In years to come, that pivotal 1983 mouse study would be buried under layers of misleading analysis to obscure its meaning. Today, the EPA and Monsanto continue to cite that study as evidence that glyphosate poses no public health risk, even though the study&rsquos actual evidence indicates otherwise.

Meanwhile, the EPA has overlooked a growing body of research suggesting glyphosate is dangerous. In March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) determined that glyphosate is &ldquoprobably carcinogenic to humans&rdquo based on multiple peer-reviewed studies published since 2001. But the EPA has not changed its classification. Instead, the agency issued a rebuttal in September 2016 that said its scientists &ldquodid not agree with IARC&rdquo&mdashand cited that 1983 mouse study as evidence of non-carcinogenicity.

Controversy continues to swirl around EPA management&rsquos cozy relationship with Monsanto. The agency&rsquos Office of Inspector General, an independent oversight body, is currently investigating whether a former deputy director in the EPA&rsquos Office of Pesticide Programs, Jess Rowland, colluded with Monsanto to &ldquokill&rdquo a Department of Health and Human Services investigation into glyphosate prompted by the release of the IARC report. On April 28, 2015, Dan Jenkins, a Monsanto regulatory affairs manager, emailed his colleagues that Rowland had told him, &ldquoIf I can kill this, I should get a medal.&rdquo

In the meantime, people across the country are suing Monsanto, alleging that their health problems and the deaths of their loved ones are connected to glyphosate. At least 1,100 such cases are wending their way through state courts, and an additional 240 through federal courts.

To understand how we got to this point, we must examine how this four-decade-old dam of selective interpretation and industry interference&mdashthat is now leaking badly&mdashwas methodically assembled.

In 1974, 1.4 million pounds of glyphosate were sprayed across U.S. farm and ranchland. By 2014, 276 million pounds were applied. Glyphosate use began to mushroom in the 1990s when the USDA approved Monsanto&rsquos request to market corn, soy and cotton seeds that had been genetically engineered to resist Roundup.

In the United States, the EPA has registered glyphosate for use on more than 100 crops, including wheat, rice, oats, barley and alfalfa. In California alone in 2015, more than 11 million pounds of glyphosate were used on crops, including almonds, avocados, cantaloupes, oranges, grapes and pistachios. In the wake of the IARC classification, this past March, California labeled glyphosate a carcinogen under the state&rsquos Proposition 65 program, which requires businesses to notify consumers of carcinogenic chemicals in their products. Monsanto has fought this in court but so far has not prevailed.

Glyphosate is used worldwide, in more than 160 countries. In 2015, Monsanto&rsquos sales of pesticides reportedly brought in $4.76 billion&mdashmuch of it fueled by the sales of glyphosate used on fields planted with the company&rsquos glyphosate-resistant GMO seeds like Roundup Ready Soybeans.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regularly measures Americans&rsquo blood and urine for more than 200 industrial chemicals (including pesticides), glyphosate is not among those tracked. The USDA has declined to test for glyphosate in food products, but the FDA recently restarted its program monitoring glyphosate in food, although its data is not yet available.

In the absence of good government data, various nongovernmental organizations have commissioned testing of food for the herbicide&rsquos residues. The most recent such testing, by Food Democracy Now, found glyphosate in Honey Nut Cheerios, Ritz crackers, Oreos, Doritos and Lay&rsquos potato chips. Previous European tests have found residues in bread and beer.

Monsanto writes the regulations

In the 1970s, the pesticide landscape was far different from today&rsquos. Many more very toxic compounds were on the market, including toxaphene (banned in 1990), endrin (banned in 1986) and chlordane (banned in 1988). In contrast, glyphosate appeared to be nontoxic. Regulators assumed that because glyphosate worked on a metabolic pathway found only in plants, it would be harmless to humans.

The EPA was only four years old when glyphosate entered the market in 1974, and the agency was faced with a large collection of chemicals to review. At the time, protocols for toxicology testing were relatively fluid, and it took the EPA until 1986 to finalize its guidelines. Yet the EPA&rsquos analysis of glyphosate still relies heavily on the initial data.

The earliest example we have found of Monsanto attempting to reduce the perception of glyphosate toxicity is from May 1973, the year before glyphosate was registered. That was when biologist Robert D. Coberly at the EPA&rsquos Toxicology Branch (TB) Registration Division recommended that, due to the herbicide&rsquos tendency to cause eye irritation, the word &ldquoDanger&rdquo should appear on the label of a Roundup formulation Monsanto was seeking to register.

In November 1973, Monsanto senior staffer L.H. Hannah wrote a letter to the EPA that&mdashas TB staff described in a memo to the Registration Division&mdash&ldquoprotested our recommendation&rdquo that &ldquoDanger&rdquo appear on the product label. The TB staff wrote that Monsanto suggested the eye irritation observed in the testing was caused by &ldquoa secondary infection in previously irritated eyes,&rdquo rather than the herbicide. EPA staff were reluctant to back down, but Monsanto persisted. The entire correspondence is not available, but in January 1976 Monsanto asked to have the &ldquosignal&rdquo word on the label changed from &ldquoDanger&rdquo to &ldquoCaution.&rdquo In June 1976, the EPA agreed to Monsanto&rsquos request.

Throughout the 1970s, EPA staff repeatedly raised red flags about the inadequacy of testing data that Monsanto was submitting in support of glyphosate&rsquos original registration. For example, in an August 1978 memo, TB scientist Krystyna Locke raised concerns about a Monsanto study in which the scientists from the contract lab had failed to record what happened in the experiment. Locke quoted Monsanto scientist Robert Roudabush, who defended the study this way: &ldquoThe scientific integrity of a study should not be doubted because of the inability to observe all primary recording of data.&rdquo In other words, the EPA should not be concerned by the absence of data. It should simply trust the study&rsquos conclusions.

The EPA&rsquos Locke also pointed out that it is &ldquodifficult not to doubt the scientific integrity of a study when the [lab] stated that it took specimens from the uteri (of male rabbits).&rdquo (A male rabbit does not have a uterus.)

This is only the most egregious example of the unreliable data made available to the EPA during its original regulatory review in the 1970s. Many other EPA memos we examined detail incomplete or otherwise unacceptable toxicology screening tests.

Conversely, one apparently valid study has been the target of major attempts to discredit it by both EPA management and Big Ag. In 1983, the EPA was continuing to examine glyphosate toxicity data supplied by Monsanto in anticipation of the registration review that the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) requires for each pesticide at least every 15 years. As part of that process, Monsanto submitted to the EPA a two-year mouse feeding study&mdasha study that has since become a thorn in Monsanto&rsquos side and a drag on the EPA&rsquos push to find glyphosate benign. Its history merits close scrutiny.

The mouse study was conducted for Monsanto by a commercial lab called Bio/Dynamics, but the results of the research were neither peer-reviewed nor made publicly available. Bio/Dynamics studied 200 mice: 50 unexposed control mice and three groups of 50 mice exposed to three different doses of glyphosate. Four of the exposed mice&mdashone at the middle dose and three at the highest dose&mdashdeveloped kidney tumors called adenomas, which tend to be initially benign but can transform into cancers.

Staff toxicologists, pathologists and statisticians in the TB provided the first interpretation of these results. On March 4, 1985, an ad hoc committee of these scientists reported that based on this mouse study, glyphosate was carcinogenic, or a &ldquoClass C&rdquo substance. They did not question the 1983 study&rsquos structure or reported data. EPA staff toxicologist William Dykstra, in an April 3, 1985, memo, stated unequivocally, &ldquoGlyphosate was oncogenic in male mice causing renal tubule adenomas, a rare tumor, in a dose-related manner.&rdquo

The TB scientists recommended further expert analysis, so in the fall of 1985 Monsanto recruited four outside pathologists to review the original tissue slides from the 1983 study and&mdasheventually&mdashfresh slides taken from the same animals used in that original study. In a March 11, 1986, memo, Dykstra reported on the results of this review: One of the outside pathologists, Marvin Kuschner, saw a tumor in the control group of mice like those found in the exposed groups. Based on this finding, the EPA decided to discount the entire study on the grounds that if an unexposed control mouse had a tumor, the tumors in the exposed mice were &ldquonot compound-related.&rdquo Subsequent evaluation of the same evidence by other pathologists found no evidence of a tumor in the control mouse, but the seeds of doubt had already been sown. As late as 2016 the EPA still mentioned the tumor in the control mouse, although it was not there.

Dissatisfied with the first outside experts&rsquo verdict, the EPA asked another five outside pathologists to look at the mouse tissue slides from that study. According to a March 1, 1986, memo from EPA Hazard Evaluation Division toxicologist D. Stephen Saunders, these experts decided that &ldquothe incidences of renal tubular-cell neoplasms in this study are not compound-related&rdquo&mdashin other words, that the kidney tumors were not related to glyphosate exposure.

Throughout this process, the EPA was riddled with internal dissent. In February 1985, TB statistician Herbert Lacayo wrote an impassioned memo regarding the 1983 mouse study. He concluded that without glyphosate exposure, the odds of seeing the kidney tumors noted in the study were about 156 to 1.

&ldquoUnder such circumstances a prudent person would reject the Monsanto assumption that glyphosate dosing has no effect on kidney tumor production,&rdquo wrote Lacayo. &ldquoOur viewpoint is one of protecting the public health when we see suspicious data. It is not our job to protect registrants from false positives.&rdquo

Monsanto&rsquos interests were protected by a toxicological tenet that held sway at the time: the linear dose-response. This assumes that the greater the dose of a toxic substance, the greater the effects, and vice versa, often phrased as &ldquothe dose makes the poison.&rdquo Under this assumption, a carcinogenicity test would be expected to show tumor size or tumor numbers increasing in linear relation to increased exposure to the carcinogen. In the mouse study, tumor numbers followed this pattern, which the TB noted was an indication that the tumors were glyphosate-related. But the largest tumor was found in one of the middle-dose mice. Pathologist Robert A. Squire, a member of the first outside group consulted, wrote in a September 1985 letter to Monsanto, &ldquoThis would be highly unlikely if the tumors were compound-related.&rdquo Thus, even though the tumor numbers followed a linear dose-response, the tumor size of the middle-dose mouse presented an opportunity to discount glyphosate&rsquos effects as non-linear and therefore nonexistent.

In some circumstances, the linear dose-response reasoning makes sense, but the science of chemical health effects has advanced considerably since the 1980s. It is now generally accepted among academic researchers that non-linear dose-responses&mdashresponses in which low levels of exposure may produce more significant effects than high levels and responses in which effects at high doses sometimes plateau or tail off&mdashoften occur.

None of the regulatory studies of glyphosate considers the possibility of non-linear dose-responses. The registration documents submitted by Monsanto show that when glyphosate testing data did not conform to the linear dose-response model, the company&rsquos hired scientists and the EPA&rsquos consultants concluded that adverse effects found in exposed animals were not caused by glyphosate. But this outdated approach underlines why glyphosate&rsquos toxicity should be revisited using modern concepts and methods.

After a decade of EPA staff scientists repeatedly flagging inconsistencies, mistakes and questionable scientific interpretations in Monsanto&rsquos data, one might expect the EPA to require rigorous new studies. Instead, the agency continued to invite outside experts to review the data, as though it was determined to ask the same question until it got the answer it was looking for.

Don&rsquot like the answer? Ask again.

In early 1986, the EPA called in yet more outside experts&mdashnamely, the agency&rsquos FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel. The seven-member panel included the head of biochemical toxicology and pathobiology at the Chemical Industry Institute of Toxicology (CIIT). This institute was founded by chemical manufacturers and funded by organizations and companies that included the American Chemistry Council (an industry group that boasts Monsanto as a member), and pesticide manufacturers BASF, Bayer and Dow Chemical. The panel also included a consultant who had worked for the ChemAgro Corporation (later part of Bayer&rsquos agricultural division) before founding her own consultancy.

The FIFRA panel felt that calling glyphosate carcinogenic was going too far and suggested downgrading its classification to D, &ldquonot classified.&rdquo

Biostatistician Christopher Portier, formerly a director of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (part of the Department of Health and Human Services) says the agency should have stuck with the TB ad hoc committee&rsquos original interpretation. Of the FIFRA panel, he says, &ldquoI have no clue how they got there.&rdquo

At the same time, according to a February 1985 summary memo by Stephen L. Saunders, based on the panel&rsquos advice, &ldquoThe Agency has determined that the existing mouse study does not provide sufficient evidence for a resolution of this issue. Therefore, a repeat mouse study is required.&rdquo

Despite the EPA&rsquos requests for a clarifying experiment, Monsanto apparently refused. Monsanto&rsquos registration director George B. Fuller protested vigorously in an Oct. 5, 1988, letter to the director of the EPA&rsquos Office of Pesticide Programs, Edwin F. Tinsworth. &ldquo[There is] no relevant scientific or regulatory justification for repeating the glyphosate mouse oncogenicity study,&rdquo Fuller wrote. &ldquoWe feel that to do so would not be an appropriate use of either the Agency&rsquos or Monsanto&rsquos resources.&rdquo In a 1988 meeting, the company again pressed the EPA to give up on the repeat mouse study requirement. The EPA backed down.

To our knowledge, the original 1983 mouse-feeding carcinogenicity study was never repeated.

What is clear from available EPA internal records is that when test results suggest toxicity, EPA management&mdashas opposed to EPA staff scientists&mdashconsistently gives Monsanto and its testing laboratories the benefit of the doubt. They defer to Monsanto&rsquos preferred conclusions instead of requiring the development of additional evidence that would clarify the questions regarding glyphosate&rsquos carcinogenicity. The documents we have examined indicate that the EPA may have asked for&mdashor intended to enforce a requirement for&mdashbetter data, but we have seen nothing to show that the agency ever did so. The EPA did not respond to our request for comment.

Despite these omissions and questions, in June 1991, the EPA announced that it was downgrading glyphosate from a &ldquoClass D&rdquo&mdash&ldquonot classifiable&rdquo substance&mdashto a &ldquoClass E&rdquo substance&mdash&ldquoone that shows evidence of non-carcinogenicity for humans&mdashbased on the lack of convincing evidence in adequate studies.&rdquo (Note that this implies adequate studies might still provide convincing evidence.)

After the EPA reregistered glyphosate in 1993, the agency&rsquos investigation of glyphosate&rsquos potential health effects became more or less dormant until controversy erupted when the World Health Organization&rsquos IARC concluded in 2015 that glyphosate was &ldquoprobably carcinogenic to humans.&rdquo That in turn prompted the EPA to develop its Fall 2016 &ldquoGlyphosate Issue Paper.&rdquo This document references the 1983 mouse study as a linchpin in its conclusion that glyphosate is not a human carcinogen. Referring to the 1983 study, the EPA wrote, &ldquoThe additional pathological and statistical evaluations concluded that the renal tumors in male mice were not compound-related.&rdquo

For its part, Monsanto called the IARC review &ldquoflawed&rdquo and accused the IARC committee of cherry-picking and overlooking data. Monsanto demanded the report&rsquos retraction.

In an 1985 memo, an EPA Toxicology Branch statistician wrote, “Our viewpoint is one of protecting the public health when we see suspicious data. It is not our job to protect registrants from false positives.”

In a September 27 email to In These Times, Monsanto spokesperson Charla Lord stressed that IARC is not a regulatory agency and that &ldquono regulatory agency in the world has concluded glyphosate is a carcinogen.&rdquo As noted above, however, the California Environmental Protection Agency&rsquos Office of Health Hazard Assessment has done so.

The IARC controversy and the EPA&rsquos second re-registration process for glyphosate, which began in 2009, have triggered a salvo of scientific journal articles and comments from the agricultural industry. This includes an entire toxicology journal issue devoted to articles (all financed by Monsanto) asserting glyphosate safety and casting doubt on contrary results. The apparent goal of these comments and articles is to discredit the IARC decision and to influence the EPA&rsquos re-registration process.

Judging by the stance of the EPA&rsquos &ldquoGlyphosate Issue Paper,&rdquo the campaign has succeeded. The EPA has not commissioned or conducted any of its own studies to examine glyphosate&rsquos potential health effects rather, the EPA document relies on non-public industry research and industry-financed reviews. It ignores the significant body of peer-reviewed literature not only on the chemical&rsquos carcinogenic effects, but also on glyphosate&rsquos harmful effects on fetal development, hormonal balance, gut bacteria and ecological balance.

Indeed, the industry reviews are not simply convenient collations of relevant literature for the EPA&mdashthe agency appears to rely on the interpretations and conclusions of the industry-financed scientists as well, in some cases without seeing the original studies. In comments submitted to the FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel on Nov. 3, 2016, Natural Resources Defense Council senior scientist Jennifer Sass stated:

NRDC strongly disagrees with EPA&rsquos dismissal or reduced weighting of many of the positive studies, and its higher weighting of guideline studies which are most often the industry-sponsored studies generated to support regulatory approval. NRDC is especially concerned that EPA relied on a review article&mdashparticularly one sponsored by the industries whose products are the target of this risk assessment&mdashinstead of the original studies.

John DeSesso, a principal with the chemical consultancy Exponent, insists the studies and reviews the EPA relied on are solid. &ldquoCertainly they relied on those studies, but they happen to be the better studies that are out there,&rdquo DeSesso says. &ldquoI understand people saying of course it came out a certain way because Monsanto paid for it.&rdquo He adds, &ldquoIf it went to the EPA, they don&rsquot have the people to do it or the time to do it themselves. So they&rsquore looking for people staying in the middle of the road and let the data tell the story.&rdquo

Yet two facts remain: First, the EPA failed to consider the large body of peer-reviewed science on glyphosate currently available. Second, neither the public nor the scientific community has access to the original study data from Monsanto upon which the EPA bases its claims of glyphosate&rsquos safety.

In July 2015, five months after IARC concluded that glyphosate was carcinogenic, Monsanto reacted publicly to Moms Across America&rsquos 2014 breast milk survey. The company&rsquos response to this small nonprofit organization parallels its lobbying of a federal agency over the last 40 years, demonstrating that it will seek to discredit all opposition no matter how small. It aggressively and publicly sowed doubt as it manipulated the science behind the scenes.

The first public salvo against Moms Across America came in a July 2015 press release from Washington State University (WSU). WSU biology professor Michelle McGuire was quoted as saying, &ldquoThe Moms Across America study flat out got it wrong.&rdquo The release, which is no longer available at the WSU web site, explained that yet-to-be-published research by McGuire and her colleagues showed that glyphosate &ldquodoes not accumulate in mother&rsquos milk.&rdquo The WSU release described McGuire&rsquos results as &ldquoindependently verified by an accredited outside organization.&rdquo These assertions turned out to be false.

When asked about the study at the time, McGuire, WSU and Monsanto all said the study was conducted independently. Yet the press release noted that the study&rsquos milk samples were tested at Monsanto&rsquos laboratories in St. Louis, as well as by Covance, Inc. (The company was formerly named Hazleton, which was doing toxicology testing for Monsanto as early as 1979.) When we queried about this in July 2015, McGuire and Monsanto explained that Monsanto had developed the test method used to measure glyphosate in human milk.

Asked why the company had developed the test method, Monsanto explained via email that McGuire&rsquos study had, in fact, been conducted in response to Moms Across America&rsquos test results. The Monsanto spokesman wrote: &ldquoAfter the Moms Across America results were posted, Monsanto consulted with the researchers about the data. We all determined that the most appropriate way to address the issues was to conduct another analysis using an analytical methodology that was validated to be precise and specific for the detection of glyphosate in human milk.&rdquo

In a September 25 Biology Fortified, Inc. YouTube video, McGuire said the study had &ldquoa conflict of interest that needed to be managed really, really carefully.&rdquo As the most specific example of such careful management, she said that in order to &ldquomake sure we had an independent or third-party lab analyze the samples,&rdquo the samples were shipped &ldquodirectly to Covance so it was not like we were going through Monsanto.&rdquo

Given the close ties between Covance and Monsanto, and Monsanto&rsquos role in devising the study and developing the analytical method, McGuire&rsquos description of the analysis as &ldquoindependent&rdquo is something of a stretch.

In March 2016, the WSU study was published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study&rsquos acknowledgements detail extensive support from Monsanto:

Three of the study&rsquos nine authors are listed as Monsanto employees.

Research &ldquogifts&rdquo of $10,000 are disclosed from Monsanto to McGuire and her co-author (and husband) Mark McGuire, in addition to the study costs for which Monsanto reimbursed the McGuires.

The study&rsquos biological sample testing (milk and urine) was paid for by Monsanto, and the company was involved in other aspects of the study design and assay development.

Curiously, even though the authors included Michelle and Mark McGuire, the study footnotes also say that &ldquothe authors reported no funding received for this study&rdquo and that authors not employed by Monsanto reported no conflicts of interest related to the study.

Further undermining claims of the study&rsquos independence is the fact that the journal that published McGuire&rsquos study is copyrighted to the American Society of Nutrition, of which Monsanto&mdashalong with numerous other agricultural and food manufacturing corporations&mdashis a &ldquosustaining partner.&rdquo Michelle McGuire is listed in her university bio as an American Society of Nutrition spokesperson.

Phil Weller, a WSU spokesperson, says university scientists like McGuire &ldquoare encouraged to collaborate with researchers working in industry&rdquo and &ldquoto design their studies in such a way that any sort of bias that might be involved does not influence their results.&rdquo

When glyphosate was first registered, it no doubt appeared benign compared to very toxic compounds that had been used as pesticides for decades. But glyphosate usage has ballooned beyond all expectations and, more than four decades later, we have no clear understanding of the consequences of this increased exposure on humans and the environment.

The EPA&rsquos regulatory record on glyphosate is compromised by missing, incomplete, hidden, redacted, lost and otherwise faulty information. The EPA relies on data, most of which is unpublished, that is supplied by the manufacturer, interpreted by the industry and not publicly available. Consequently, a decisive and transparent assessment of glyphosate&rsquos toxicity is impossible. The EPA has never wavered from its decision to dismiss and minimize the 1983 mouse study, which appears to be valid. The agency has never attempted to replicate the study in order to clarify its results&mdashperhaps because it feared that such evidence would demonstrate that glyphosate was indeed a carcinogen. Furthermore, it&rsquos a pattern the agency continues to follow, discounting later studies using similar arguments and research supplied by industry that have not undergone independent analysis.

Neither the public nor the scientific community has access to the original study data from Monsanto upon which the EPA bases its claims of glyphosate’s safety.

&ldquoI gave [the EPA] the benefit of the doubt in 1986,&rdquo says Portier. &ldquoI don&rsquot give them the benefit of the doubt in 2017.&rdquo

Glyphosate is a clear case of &ldquoregulatory capture&rdquo by a corporation acting in its own financial interest while serious questions about public health remain in limbo.

The record suggests that in 44 years&mdashthrough eight presidential administrations&mdashEPA management has never attempted to correct the problem. Indeed, the pesticide industry touts its forward-looking, modern technologies as it strives to keep its own research in the closet, and relies on questionable assumptions and outdated methods in regulatory toxicology.

The only way to establish a scientific basis for evaluating glyphosate&rsquos safety, as a group of 14 scientists suggested in 2016, would be to make proprietary industrial studies public, put them up against the peer-reviewed literature and conduct new studies by researchers independent of corporate interests&mdashin other words, force some daylight between regulators and the regulated.

As an independent, nonprofit publication, IN THESE TIMES depends on support from readers like you. Donate or subscribe to help fund independent journalism.

Valerie Brown is a journalist specializing in environmental health, climate change and microbiology. In 2009 she was honored by the Society of Environmental Journalists for her writing on epigenetics.

Elizabeth Grossman was an award-winning journalist specializing in science and environmental issues. She was the author of Chasing Molecules, High Tech Trash and other books. To the great sorrow of her colleagues and friends, Grossman died in July of ovarian cancer.

Want to stay up to date with the latest news and investigative reports? Subscribe to the free In These Times weekly newsletter:


US May Start Testing Food for ‘Probably Carcinogenic’ Glyphosate

Following the World Health Organization’s report declaring that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, likely causes cancer, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday that regulators may begin testing food for residue of the pesticide chemical.

"Given increased public interest in glyphosate, EPA may recommend sampling for glyphosate in the future," the EPA said in an email to Reuters.

While Monsanto maintains that the herbicide is safe in &ldquotrace amounts,&rdquo the public has grown increasingly weary of the chemical especially after the World Health Organization reclassified glyphosate from &ldquopossibly carcinogenic&rdquo to &ldquoprobably carcinogenic to humans&rdquo last month.

After the reclassification, Monsanto fired off an extremely contentious press release stating that they have asked to meet with the World Health Organization to challenge their findings, as half of the agro giant&rsquos revenue reportedly comes from Roundup and Roundup Ready Seeds.

&ldquoWe have issued an urgent request for appropriate personnel of the WHO to sit down with the global glyphosate taskforces and other regulatory agencies to account for the scientific studies used in their analysis and, equally as important, to account for those scientific studies that were disregarded,&rdquo the controversial company wrote.

The US government does not currently test for glyphosate in food as it had previously been considered safe. The ultimate decision on whether or not testing will begin is in the hands of the US Department of Agriculture and their pesticide data program.

The only year that the USDA opted to test for glyphosate was 2011, and out of 300 soybeans tested, 271 of the samples tested positive for the herbicide.

Aside from the likelihood of glyphosate being carcinogenic, many studies have also shown alarming instances of fetal deaths and birth defects in animals, including missing kidneys and lungs, enlarged hearts, and abnormally formed bones and skulls, linked to the chemical.

The pressure to begin the testing is not likely to relent, as people become more concerned about where their food is coming from, and many preferring their dinners to not have been grown with poisons.

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