President Donald Trump's Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday wrapped up a regulatory review of the safety of the weedkiller glyphosate and found the chemical poses no risk to human healh—a decision that was immediately decried by advocates as another indication of the closeness between the administration and private sector interests.
"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," said Lori Ann Burd, the Center for Biological Diversity's director of environmental health. "This administration's troubling allegiance to Bayer/Monsanto and the pesticide industry doesn't change the trove of peer-reviewed research by leading scientists finding troubling links between glyphosate and cancer."
The EPA came to the conclusion after reviewing the chemical's effects on humans, but the determination is unlikely to change views on either side of the conflict over the chemical's safety.
"A whole lot of people will disagree" with the EPA, tweeted Civil Eats founder and editor Naomi Starkman.
As Reuters reported:
The conclusion reaffirms the agency’s stance on glyphosate, the key ingredient in Bayer AG's Roundup, despite judgments by U.S. juries that have found that use of the weedkiller was responsible for plaintiffs' cancer in some trials.
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In 2015, the World Health Organization's cancer arm classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans."
There are reportedly tens of thousands of lawsuits against Bayer/Monsanto for the chemical's cancer links, and the company is considering settling the claims for between $10 and $12 billion.
Thursday's decision is not expected to have an effect on those suits. But the message the EPA is sending, the Center for Biological Diversity's Burd said, is clear.
"The EPA's pesticide office is clearly willing to bend over backwards, including disregarding its own guidelines for evaluating cancer risks, to give the industry what it wants," said Burd.
As Common Dreams has reported, Trump's EPA has been criticized by advocates for years for its closeness to Bayer/AG and its treatment of glyphosate.
Media strategist Jen Degtjarewsky gave a blunt assessment on the president's environmental record in the contexxt of Thursday's ruling.
"It's open season on clean air, water, and soil," said Degtjarewsky.