Monsanto Disagrees with IARC Classification for Glyphosate

Publish Date:

Friday March 20, 2015

As consumers ourselves, safety is a priority for every person who works at Monsanto. And, we want to be clear: All labeled uses of glyphosate are safe for human health and supported by one of the most extensive worldwide human health databases ever compiled on an agricultural product. In fact, every glyphosate-based herbicide on the market meets the rigorous standards set by regulatory and health authorities to protect human health.

We join fellow members of both the EU and U.S. glyphosate taskforces in our disagreement with IARC’s classification for several reasons: 

  • There is no new research or data here. Each of the studies considered by IARC have been previously reviewed and considered by regulatory agencies – most recently by the German government on behalf of the European Union.
  • Relevant, scientific data was excluded from review. IARC received and purposefully disregarded dozens of scientific studies – specifically genetic toxicity studies – that support the conclusion glyphosate is not a human health risk. 
  • The conclusion is not supported by scientific data. IARC’s classification is inconsistent with the numerous multi-year, comprehensive assessments conducted by hundreds of scientists from countries worldwide who are responsible for ensuring public safety.
  • IARC’s classification does not establish a link between glyphosate and an increase in cancer.  It’s important to put IARC’s classifications into perspective. IARC has classified numerous everyday items in Category 2 including coffee, cell phones, aloe vera extract and pickled vegetables, as well as professions such as a barber and fry cook.

We take great pride in the science behind, and safety of, our products. We are committed to developing products that contribute to safe and nutritious food choices for all consumers. And, we are reaching out to the World Health Organization (WHO) to understand how, despite the wealth of existing science on glyphosate, the IARC panel could make a classification that disagrees with scientific and regulatory reviews.

We believe conclusions about a matter as important as human safety MUST BE non-biased, thorough and based on quality science that adheres to internationally recognized standards. We join others in viewing IARC’s process and its assessment with strong skepticism. IARC has previously come under criticism for both its process and demonstrated bias.

We urge anyone who wants to know more about glyphosate to look at the conclusions reached by regulatory authorities in developed countries that rigorously consider all available data, published and unpublished, in a comprehensive evaluation. You can also learn more at www.monsanto.com/iarc-roundup.

Statement from Dr. Philip Miller, Vice President Global Regulatory Affairs, Monsanto

"As consumers ourselves, the safety of our products is paramount to each of us who work at Monsanto, and our company is built on a foundation of science. All labeled uses of glyphosate are safe for human health and supported by one of the most extensive worldwide human health databases ever compiled on an agricultural product.

As recently as January, the German government completed a rigorous, four-year evaluation of glyphosate for the European Union. They reviewed all the data IARC considered, plus significantly more, and concluded “glyphosate was unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk in humans.” 

We join fellow members of both the EU and U.S. glyphosate taskforces in our disagreement with this classification for several reasons: there is no new research or data that was used; the most relevant, scientific data was excluded from review; the conclusion is not supported by scientific data; and there is no link between glyphosate and an increase in cancer when the full data set is included in a rigorous review. 

We don’t know how IARC could reach a conclusion that is such a dramatic departure from the conclusion reached by all regulatory agencies around the globe. We have issued an urgent request for appropriate personnel of the WHO to sit down with the global glyphosate taskforces and other regulatory agencies to account for the scientific studies used in their analysis and, equally as important, to account for those scientific studies that were disregarded.

It is imperative for society that conclusions about a matter as important as human safety be non-biased, thorough and based on science that adheres to internationally recognized standards. The one thing about true science is that it is not selective. Unfortunately, this review does not meet the standards used by respected agencies around the world."