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August 25th, 2016 / EurActiv.com

What exactly makes glyphosate such a controversial issue? One must look no further than the rather unexpected decision by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) to classify glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” back in March 2015. Overnight, a herbicide with a track record of safe use spanning over four decades became a public health monster according to a reputable international organisation.

IARC’s decision flew in the face of the world’s major advisory and regulatory bodies – the German BfR acting on behalf of the European Union, the European Food Safety Authority, the US-EPA, the European Chemicals Agency, and also the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues – stated, in summary, that glyphosate, as properly used, raises no health concerns. In scientific talk, a bold statement of absolute safety is almost impossible to advance, and the phrase “unlikely to be carcinogenic”, for instance, is the closest one can come to “safe”.

So, what hat explains this peculiarity in scientific assessments? See more