Canadian farmers will continue using glyphosate after Health Canada concluded that the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer poses no human risks.
The federal agency dismissed eight notices of objection and assertions made in the so-called Monsanto Papers in 2017.
“After a thorough scientific review, we have concluded that the concerns raised by the objectors could not be scientifically supported when considering the entire body of relevant data. The objections raised did not create doubt or concern regarding the scientific basis for the 2017 re-evaluation decision for glyphosate,” Health Canada said in a press release.
The 2017 re-evaluation determined that glyphosate is not genotoxic and is unlikely to pose a human cancer risk. It also determined that dietary exposure associated with the use of glyphosate is not expected to pose a risk of concern to human health. When used according to revised label directions, glyphosate products are not expected to pose risks of concern to the environment, according to the study.
Health Canada said it has selected a group of 20 of its own scientists who were not involved in the 2017 decision to evaluate the eight objections and the concerns raised publicly around glyphosate. The agency said its scientists “left no stone unturned in conducting” the review.
The agency noted that it “had access to numerous individual studies and raw scientific data during its assessment of glyphosate, including additional cancer and genotoxicity studies.” It added that it will “continue to monitor for new information related to glyphosate, including regulatory actions from other governments, and will take appropriate action if risks of concern to human health or the environment are identified.”
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, which is the most popular weed killer in the US. German chemicals and pharmaceuticals giant Bayer, which bought Monsanto last year, disclosed earlier that lawsuits from 9,300 plaintiffs were pending at the end of October. The lawsuits alleged that the company’s recently acquired weed-killing product caused cancer.
The surge in lawsuits followed the $289-million California court verdict when Monsanto was ordered to pay damages to a man who alleged its glyphosate-based weed killers, including Roundup, caused his cancer.
Bayer rejected all the accusations, claiming there are hundreds of scientific studies and regulatory authorities that show glyphosate, the compound contained in the weed killers, is safe to use.