Carcinogenicity of glyphosate: why is New Zealand's EPA lost in the weeds?

Douwes, J; 't Mannetje, A; McLean, D; Pearce, N; Woodward, A; Potter, JD; (2018) Carcinogenicity of glyphosate: why is New Zealand's EPA lost in the weeds? The New Zealand medical journal, 131 (1472). pp. 82-89. ISSN 0028-8446

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In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded that glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic to humans". The New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority (NZEPA) rejected this and commissioned a new report, concluding that glyphosate was unlikely to be genotoxic or carcinogenic to humans. The NZEPA has argued that the difference arose because IARC is a "hazard-identification authority", whereas NZEPA is a "regulatory body that needs to cast the net more widely". We conclude that the NZEPA process for evaluating the carcinogenicity of glyphosate was flawed and the post hoc justification invalid: there is no mention of risk assessment or "net-benefit approach" in the NZEPA report; and there is no discussion of current New Zealand glyphosate exposures. Further, the NZEPA report quotes heavily from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) report, which is itself markedly flawed, and like the NZEPA report, relies heavily on industry-funded and industry-manipulated reviews. Given the scientific flaws in both reports we urge that: the NZEPA report be withdrawn; the NZEPA respond to the concerns raised and for a reassessment to be conducted; and clearer process and better understanding of science be used to inform any future review of hazardous substances in New Zealand.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Medical Statistics
PubMed ID: 29565939
Web of Science ID: 434428500009


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