EPA Playing Politics with Herbicide Study, Requires Oversight

Published July 14, 2016

An 87-page report by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Cancer Assessment Review Committee, dated October 1, 2015, concluded exposure to the herbicide glyphosate—the active ingredient in Roundup brand herbicides—doesn’t appear to cause cancer.

The report was not posted on EPA’s website until May 5, and on May 8, without explanation, EPA removed the study from its website and has not reposted it.

In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, questioned why EPA posted the study and then suddenly removed it from its website. Smith wrote, “EPA’s apparent mishandling of this report may shed light on larger systemic problems occurring at the agency.”

Smith also asked EPA to provide all documents and correspondence related to the glyphosate study since January 1, 2015.

Roundup ‘Very Useful’

Angela Logomasini, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), says politics is trumping science at EPA.

“A lot of positive news about Roundup is often overlooked,” Logomasini said. “European governments long ago determined Roundup is safe, and since the exposure rate in nearly all instances is so low, there is virtually no danger to humans.

“What we do know is Roundup is very useful for farmers. Food would be more expensive without it,” said Logomasini. “It appears science is becoming trumped by politics.” 

Environmentalists Dislike Pesticides

Bruce Ames, a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of California-Berkeley, says environmentalists have a misplaced fear of pesticides and herbicides.

“They sell tons of Roundup because it’s the best herbicide out there,” Ames said. “Environmentalists don’t like pesticides, including Roundup, even though it selectively kills weeds and not plants and quickly degrades in the soil.”

“Environmentalists’ fear of cancers linked to pesticides is based on wrong assumptions,” Ames said.

Kenneth Artz ([email protected]) writes from Dallas, Texas.