The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a final interim decision to reapprove the registration of glyphosate under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.
In its review, the agency determined there are no risks to human health for current registered uses of glyphosate and the herbicide is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.
“EPA has conducted comprehensive human health and ecological risk assessments for glyphosate and has not received any information that would change the conclusion of its risk assessment,” the agency stated.
The American Farm Bureau Federation said glyphosate is an important tool used across many crops and growing systems as farmers continue their drive toward increasingly sustainable production.
EPA’s science-based decision reaffirms the safety and effectiveness of this widely adopted weed-control technology, the Farm Bureau said.
“This is a win for sustainable agriculture,” Zippy Duvall, Farm Bureau president, said in a press statement.
EPA’s decision “means farmers can continue to use conservation tillage and no-till methods on their farms to conserve soil, preserve and increase nutrients, improve water quality, trap excess carbon in the soil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.
“That said, safety is our first priority, and the science clearly shows that this tool is both safe and effective,” he said.
Glyphosate was first registered for use in the U.S. in 1974. It is one of the most widely used herbicides in the U.S. It is included in more than 750 products in the U.S. and is used in agriculture, forestry, lawns and garden, aquatic plants and industrial areas, according to the National Pesticide Information Center at Oregon State University.
In agriculture, glyphosate products are registered for use in the production of fruits, berries, nuts, vegetables, legumes, cereal grains and other field crops and in glyphosate-resistant crops — corn, soybeans, cotton, canola, sugar beets and alfalfa.
The National Corn Growers Association also welcomed EPA’s decision, saying safety is a priority for all corn growers.
All products in use today have been tested by EPA, and many have been used for decades with no findings of harmful effects on human health or the environment when used properly.
Each product is thoroughly reviewed by the EPA every 15 years to ensure continued safety and account for any new information or data, NCGA stated.
“The availability of safe products is critically important and allows farmers to continually improve the sustainability of their operations, while supplying a safe, secure supply of food for a growing population,” the association said.
Other organizations, however, contend EPA’s decision disregards a growing number of independent studies linking glyphosate to cancer.
EPA’s decision “underscores that the Trump administration’s willful ignorance of science and abject fealty toward the chemical pesticide industry knows no bounds,” Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, said in a press release.
The Center for Biological Diversity said EPA’s assessment contradicts a 2015 World Health Organization analysis of published research that determined glyphosate is a probable carcinogen.
“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’s director of environmental health, said in a press release.
In its reapproval of glyphosate, EPA is requiring risk-management measures to address off-target spray drift to protect non-target organisms such as pollinators. It is also working to implement an interim approach for assessing potential risk to listed species and their designated critical habitats.