Health Canada says no pesticide regulatory authority deems glyphosate to be a cancer risk to humans at current levels of exposure
Glyphosate will continue to be used by Canadian farmers, as Health Canada has concluded that the herbicide is safe.
The ruling comes after scientific review, and is controversial, with strong opinions on both sides of the decision.
The department released its final re-evaluation decision on glyphosate in 2017 and received eight notices of objection, a Friday Health Canada release
Despite publicly raised concerns regarding “the validity of some of the science around glyphosate in what is being referred to as the Monsanto Papers,” Health Canada has concluded that no pesticide regulatory authority considers glyphosate to be a cancer risk to humans at the levels at which humans are currently exposed to it.
Scientists from Health Canada examined the concerns to determine if any of the issues would affect the results of the organization’s assessment and the affiliated regulatory decision. The eight objections did not create doubt toward the scientific basis for the 2017 re-evaluation decision for glyphosate, and the department’s final decision will stand.
Glyphosate, a broad-spectrum, non-selective herbicide, helps to control annual weeds, perennial weeds, weedy trees and woody brush. In its sodium salt form, it is used to regulate plant growth and help to ripen fruit.
The overall findings from the re-examination of the herbicide are as follows:
• “Glyphosate is not genotoxic and is unlikely to pose a human cancer risk.
• “Dietary (food and drinking water) exposure associated with the use of glyphosate is not expected to pose a risk of concern to human health.
• “Occupational and residential risks associated with the use of glyphosate are not of concern, provided that updated label instructions are followed.
• “The environmental assessment concluded that spray buffer zones are necessary to mitigate potential risks to non-target species (for example, vegetation near treated areas, aquatic invertebrates and fish) from spray drift.
• “When used according to revised label directions, glyphosate products are not expected to pose risks of concern to the environment.
Health Canada’s scientists “left no stone unturned in conducting” the review, the release said.
“They had access to all relevant data and information from federal and provincial governments, international regulatory agencies, published scientific reports and multiple pesticide manufacturers. This includes the reviews referred to in the Monsanto Papers,” the release said.
“Health Canada also had access to numerous individual studies and raw scientific data during its assessment of glyphosate, including additional cancer and genotoxicity studies. To help ensure an unbiased assessment of the information, Health Canada selected a group of 20 of its own scientists who were not involved in the 2017 re-evaluation to evaluate the notices of objection.”
Health Canada will publish its response to all eight objections in the Pest Management Regulatory Agency's Public Registry
“We 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,” Health Canada said in the release.
Farms.com has reached out to OMAFRA for comment.
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