Glyphosate is being used despite the EPA’s withdrawal of its interim registration.The most popular weedkiller in the world, glyphosate, lost the EPA’s interim approval, despite the agency’s insistence that the herbicide is safe to use and does not cause cancer. The EPA stated in a court document that it will focus on finishing the glyphosate periodic review that was mandated by law, probably in 2026.
The EPA declared glyphosate to be “safe” and “not likely” to cause cancer in 2020. But now that a federal judge has determined that the EPA disregarded human health studies, professional counsel, and the agency’s procedures for calculating cancer risk, the agency is being forced to revisit its faulty assessment.
As long as the registration review is being conducted, glyphosate will still be used. Glyphosate known by its brand name Roundup, was initially authorized for usage in the United States in 1974. Hundreds of cases alleging that the chemical is carcinogenic are being fought by its manufacturer, Bayer.
Amy Van Saun, Esq. of the Center for Food Safety, just one of the environmental groups that challenged the interim decision in court stated, “What EPA should do instead is cancel glyphosate products until and unless it re-assesses its risks and assures its safety in a lawful way.” The EPA “was simply taking its ball and going home,” rather than carrying out directions by the federal appeals court in San Francisco to re-assess the human health risks and consult with wildlife agencies on the impact of glyphosate on threatened and endangered species.”
Here is what the EPA reports.
EPA has determined that withdrawal of the glyphosate ID is appropriate in consideration of the Ninth Circuit’s June 17, 2022, decision. The Agency is unable to finalize a new ecological portion in a registration review decision for glyphosate by the court-imposed Oct. 1, 2022, deadline because of the time needed to address the issues for which EPA sought remand of the ecological portion and satisfy ESA requirements. EPA initiated formal ESA consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (the Services) for glyphosate in November 2021, and consultation is ongoing. Moreover, before issuing any decision, EPA must first prepare a proposed decision, publish for a 60-day public comment period, and consider any comments received. EPA cannot complete these processes by the court-imposed deadline.
“EPA’s underlying scientific findings regarding glyphosate, including its finding that glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans, remain the same. In accordance with the court’s decision, the Agency intends to revisit and better explain its evaluation of the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate and to consider whether to do so for other aspects of its human health analysis. For the ecological portion, EPA intends to address the issues for which it sought remand, including: to consider whether additional or different risk mitigation may be necessary based on the outcome of ESA consultation for glyphosate, prepare an analysis of in-field effects of glyphosate on monarch butterfly habitat, consider whether there are other aspects of its analysis of ecological risks and costs to revisit, and consider what risk mitigation measures may be necessary to reduce potential risk following completion of analyses left outstanding in the ID. EPA also intends to complete ESA consultation with the Services, make a determination under the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program, and respond to an administrative petition regarding glyphosate before issuing a final registration review decision.”