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New Zealand EPA & the IARC

Following the release of the IARC Monograph in March 2015, August 2015, the NZ Environmental Protection Authority released a Review of the Evidence Relating to Glyphosate and Carcinogenicity which challenged the IARC's determination that glyphosate and it's formulations were probably carcinogenic.

In response, Jodie Bruning & NZ member of parliament Steffan Browning in August 2017 released the paper (PDF embedded): 

Why did the NZ EPA ignore the world authority on cancer?

The paper contains supporting statements from academics and researchers, and includes information demonstrating that the Ministry of Health did not agree with the EPA’s approach to challenging the IARC.

The research paper recommends that the EPA immediately withdraw its report, ‘Review of the Evidence Relating to Glyphosate and Carcinogenicity,’ and adopt the IARC’s determination that it is a probable human carcinogen.

Following the release of the paper and media coverage, NZ public health scientists, responded to the 'unconvincing defence' of glyphosate's alleged safety by NZ EPA Chief Scientist Jacqueline Rowarth in the Otago University Public Health Blog 'NZ’s Environmental Protection Authority in a muddle over weed killer'.

European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)

Following the release of the IARC Monograph in March 2015, in October 2015, EFSA released the evaluation of the Renewal Assessment Report (RAR) for glyphosate. Prepared by the Rapporteur Member State, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR). The evaluation came under heavy fire.

Retired Director, US National Center for Environmental Health, Dr Christopher Portier and 93 fellow scientists commented on the inconsistent actions of EFSA in scientific commentary: 'Differences in the carcinogenic evaluation of glyphosate between the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).’

Former industry toxicologist Dr Peter Clausing, who has authored some 30 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals, criticised the EFSA paper: December 2015  Conclusion on the Peer Review of the Glyphosate Risk Assessment: A Reality Check; July 2017: Glyphosate and cancer: Authorities systematically breach regulations. How industry strategized (and regulators colluded) in an attempt to save the world’s most widely used herbicide from a ban.



Following the release of the IARC Monograph in March 2015,  in May 2016 the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) – Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) taskforce released a summary report. The report contained no references, citing no studies. In April 2017 WHO FAO released the (backdated) Monograph on glyphosate containing references.

 Pesticide residues in food – 2016: Part II toxicological
evaluations / Joint Meeting of the FAO Panel of Experts on
Pesticide Residues in Food and the Environment and the
WHO Core Assessment Group on Pesticide Residues,
Geneva. 9–13 May 2016. Glyphosate ISBN 978-92-4-
165532-3 (Glyphosate: Page 89 onwards) 

Unfortunately - in lock step with the US EPA Issue Paper, the EFSA RAR, the JMPR prioritised weight of evidence findings on unpublished industry science, ignored formulation toxicity, metabolite toxicity and ignored the function of oxidative stress as a hallmark of cancer.

WHO FAO JMPR evaluations appear to rely exclusively on data supplied by industry.

The report is important as it retains the same permitted exposure levels for the world population - daily glyphosate acceptable daily intake (ADI) for life - from the 2004 toxicological evaluation.  

'The 2016 panel retained the 2004 ADI ADI at 1mg per kg bodyweight per day. 

The Meeting reaffirmed the group ADI for the sum of glyphosate, AMPA, N-acetyl-glyphosate and N-acetyl-AMPA of 0–1 mg/kg bw on the basis of the NOAEL of 100 mg/kg bw per day for effects on the salivary gland in a long-term study of toxicity and carcinogenicity in rats and application of a safety factor of 100.'  Page. 24




Following the release of the IARC Monograph in March 2015,, the US Environmental Protection Agency Office of Pesticide Programs released Glyphosate Issue Paper: Evaluation of Carcinogenic Potential in September 2016. The Centre for Food Safety responded to this finding in October, posting Docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2016-0385 criticised the EPA for failing to report statistically significant tumour findings, and recommended that on the basis of the evidence, glyphosate should be classified as 'likely to be carcinogenic to humans.'