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After EPA Rules Weed Killer Not Cancerous, Critical News Outlets Silent

After EPA Rules Weed Killer Not Cancerous, Critical News Outlets Silent

By Chris White

The New York Times and other outlets critical of the health risks of a popular weed killer have yet to respond to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement that the pesticide does not likely cause cancer.

TheNYT, The Washington Post and CNN have scrutinized the supposed ecological risks of glyphosate in past reports, but they clammed up after the agency announced in a Dec. 18 statement that the pesticide “is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”

The EPA’s “assessment found no other meaningful risks to human health when the product is used according to the pesticide label,” according to a press statement announcing the agency’s findings. The agency gave advance copies of the nearly 220-page assessment to the press before officially releasing the report.

Various smaller media outlets such as the St. Louis Dispatch picked up the story, but the legacy papers largely ignored the findings.

The agency’s assessment included an evaluation of dietary, residential/non-occupational, aggregate, and occupational exposures. It also performed an in-depth review of the glyphosate cancer database, and cross-referenced them with numerous studies on epidemiological and animal carcinogenicity.

Glyphosate, a key ingredient in Roundup that is used to kill weeds, has recently become a controversial chemical pesticide. Some environmentalists and researchers argue that the chemical carries significant cancer-related risks.

GOP lawmakers argue, however, that the claims are based on bunk science. Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, for one, noted in a letter earlier this year to the National Institute of Health that scientist Aaron Blair was the researcher who reviewed a separate study showing no evidence glyphosate causes cancer.

“The committee is concerned about these new revelations, especially given Dr. Blair’s apparent admission that the AHS study was ‘powerful,’ and would alter IARC’s analysis of glyphosate,” Gowdy wrote, referencing Blair’s decision to omit the research, which resulted in the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluding in 2015 that the herbicide was likely a carcinogen.

Monsanto, one of the main companies that produce the herbicide, is fending off waves of lawsuits from people who claim they’re suffering from cancer because of their contact with the glyphosate — many of the plaintiffs have used IARC’s findings to bolster their claims.

Monsanto is trying to keep glyphosate off European lists of possibly carcinogenic chemicals. The European Chemical Agency (ECHA), which regulates chemicals on the market in Europe, ruled in March that “the available scientific evidence did not meet the criteria to classify glyphosate as a carcinogen.”

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