The toxic chemical glyphosate, a common herbicide, has been found to be a threat to public health and a recognized carcinogenic. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is caught between a weed and a hard place as they defend the big-money herbicide even after their own science advisors deemed it a hazard.

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Commonly known by its brand name Roundup, Bayer, formally known as Monsato, sells about 300 million pounds of the weed killer annually in the U.S. for agricultural use. Farm use accounts for about 90 percent of American sales, with 10 percent sprayed on lawns, parks, golf courses, playground and other non-agricultural uses. Glyphosate sticks to crops, works its way into water and has been linked to cancer-related troubles with the liver, kidney, immune and reproductive systems of farm workers.

Related: Researchers find weedkiller ingredient Glyphosate in name brand beer and wine

The EPA has had a long and shady past with Monsanto and glyphosate. According to documents recently made available during court proceedings, Monsanto and the EPA Pesticide Office worked together to downplay the herbicide’s cancer risks. In an April 2019 report, the EPA said, “The agency has determined that glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans and therefore a quantitative cancer assessment was not conducted.”

However, just the week before the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry released its draft Toxicological Profile for Glyphosate which is much more concerned with the potential dangers of glyphosates.

Many scientists strenuously disagree with the EPA’s conclusions. “The EPA’s pesticide office is out on a limb here— with Monsanto and Bayer and virtually nobody else,” says Jennifer Sass, a senior scientist at NRDC. “Health agencies and credible non-industry experts who’ve reviewed this question have all found a link between glyphosate and cancer,” Sass says. “The EPA should take the advice of its own science advisors who have rejected the agency’s no-cancer-risk classification.”


Image via Mike Mozart