Energy & Environment

EPA re-approves key Roundup chemical

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has re-approved a chemical used in Bayer's Roundup weed killer despite concerns over its health risks.

The agency is doubling down on its claims that the chemical, glyphosate, doesn't pose a danger to humans despite thousands of lawsuits that attribute cancer to Roundup.

"The EPA found there was insufficient evidence to conclude that glyphosate plays a role in any human diseases," said an agency interim registration review decision

The agency did find that glyphosate presented "low or limited potential risks" in birds and mammals. 

The EPA's results differ from other research such as a 2015 World Health Organization analysis which found that glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic" to humans. 

The agency received some pushback over the renewed approval. 

"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, the Center for Biological Diversity's director of environmental health, 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," Burd added. 

Glyphosate is the most commonly used herbicide among farmers and is the key ingredient in Bayer-Monsanto's Roundup weed killer. The company faces a myriad of lawsuits regarding the substance. 

Bayer touted the EPA's determination in a statement on Friday. 

"EPA's latest decision on glyphosate-based herbicides adds to the long-term evaluation of leading international health authorities that these products can be used safely, and that glyphosate is not carcinogenic," said in a statement from Bayer AG's Board of Management member Liam Condon. 

The EPA's results differ from other some research such as a 2015 analysis which says that glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic" to humans and looked at studies dealing with agricultural exposure and studies of laboratory animals.

However, a 2016 statement from the WHO and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations said that glyphosate "is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans from exposure through the diet."

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