Health Canada de­fends glyphosate stud­ies


Health Canada sci­en­tists say there is no rea­son to be­lieve the sci­en­tific ev­i­dence they used to ap­prove the con­tin­ued use of glyphosate in weed killers was tainted.

On Fri­day they re­jected, again, ar­gu­ments that the in­gre­di­ent in her­bi­cides like Mon­santo’s Roundup causes can­cer if the sub­stances are used as they’re sup­posed to be.

The de­part­ment’s Pest Man­age­ment Reg­u­la­tory Agency is re­quired to re­assess her­bi­cides ev­ery 15 years and after such a re­assess­ment in 2017 it ap­proved glyphosate for con­tin­ued use in Canada with some ad­di­tional la­belling re­quire­ments. The re­view looked at more than 1,300 stud­ies and con­cluded glyphosate prod­ucts pose no risk to peo­ple or the en­vi­ron­ment as long as they are prop­erly used and la­belled.

Glyphosate is one of the most com­mon her­bi­cides used in the world, is in more than 130 prod­ucts sold in Canada and has wide­spread use by farm­ers to keep weeds out of their crops.

After the decision, eight ob­jec­tions were filed, many of which said the ev­i­dence used to ap­prove the prod­uct was tainted be­cause Mon­santo had in­flu­enced the re­sults.

Their ac­cu­sa­tions were largely based on doc­u­ments filed in a U.S. law­suit in which a for­mer groundskeeper was awarded a mul­ti­mil­lion-dollar set­tle­ment after ju­rors de­cided his can­cer was linked to glyphosate.

The groups, in­clud­ing Eco­jus­tice, En­vi­ron­men­tal De­fence and Cana­dian Physi­cians for the En­vi­ron­ment, wanted Health Min­is­ter Ginette Peti­pas Tay­lor to order an in­de­pen­dent re­view of the Health Canada decision.

In­stead Health Canada as­signed 20 sci­en­tists not part of the orig­i­nal re­view to look at the mat­ter. Con­nie Moase, a di­rec­tor in the healthef­fects divi­sion of the Pest Man­age­ment Reg­u­la­tory Agency, said Fri­day the sci­en­tists “left no stone un­turned” in re­view­ing the decision.

“The ob­jec­tions raised did not cre­ate doubt or con­cern re­gard­ing the sci­en­tific ba­sis for the 2017 re-eval­u­a­tion decision for glyphosate,” said Moase.

She said the doc­u­ments, known as the Mon­santo Pa­pers, were mainly re­views of stud­ies, not stud­ies them­selves, and that Health Canada’s ap­proval was based on the ac­tual stud­ies.

Moase added that no pest reg­u­la­tory man­age­ment agency in the world says glyphosate causes can­cer at cur­rent levels of ex­po­sure.

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