Recently, a major report in one of the world’s top medical journals concluded that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s best selling herbicide Roundup, is a “probable” carcinogen.
The report, which was published by the World Health Organization in The Lancet, said that there is “limited evidence” the weedkiller can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and lung cancer and “convincing evidence” that it can also cause cancer in lab animals.
It was issued after a meeting of 17 cancer experts from 11 countries was convened this month.
In response the United States’ EPA has said it will consider the French agency’s evaluation.
Monsanto has denied the findings of the report saying that “all labeled uses for glyphosate are safe for human health” according to Phil Miller, the company’s global head of regulatory and government affairs.
The EPA has previously ruled that the agricultural chemical could be used “without unreasonable risks to people or the environment,” but considering its widespread use especially in U.S. farming coupled with the Lancet’s findings and other warnings, others remain far from convinced.
Several other studies including this 2013 one in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology have made similar associations.
And glyphosate is becoming ubiquitous in the environment as well. A 2014 study of U.S. mothers found glyphosate in their breast milk at rates 760 to 1,600 times higher than what European safety standards allow. The chemical has also been showing up in rain and drinking water samples.
Approximately 1 billion pounds of pesticides are sprayed on U.S. crops every year and many of these sprays contain glyphosate; meanwhile that number is rising each year in large part due to the use of Roundup-resistant genetically modified crops from Monsanto.
Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world and is used on various types of crops, including Monsanto’s genetically modified, lab-created ones from seeds designed to withstand large doses of chemicals while the weeds and pesticides around it are killed.