The World Health Organization, in a statement released May 16, 2016, has concluded that glyphosate, the main ingredient in Round-Up is “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans” through food exposure. In conjunction with the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, the committee found that glyphosate is unlikely to be genotoxic in humans, meaning it is not likely to have a destructive effect on a cell’s genetic material.
The committee stated:
In view of the absence of carcinogenic potential in rodents at human-relevant doses and the absence of genotoxicity by the oral route in mammals, and considering the epidemiological evidence from occupational exposures, the meeting concluded that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans from exposure through the diet.
The conclusion might see a little odd to those paying attention, because WHO is contradicting a conclusion found by its subcommittee – the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). In the spring of 2015, IARC categorized glyphosate as a probable carcinogen. At the time, the conclusions of IARC were heavily criticized.
But WHO isn’t the only one to contradict IARC’s findings. The European Food Safety Authority, which is part of the European Union, found that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans. In the United States and Canada, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Authority have concluded that there is no link between glyphosate and cancer in humans. The same conclusion was reached by Intertek, a panel of 16 scientists commissioned to review the same data as IARC.
Oddly, WHO resolved the apparent discrepancy by explaining that its finding and IARC’s findings were “complementary.” Which, honestly, just sounds like a way to save face for your subcommittee.
Nonetheless, the evidence is mounting and more and more national and international government agencies are reaching the same conclusion – glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer.