Cancer Council Australia is calling for an independent review into the popular herbicide Roundup to validate its link to non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The country’s lead cancer group referenced the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which in 2015 classified Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
“We are concerned that this issue’s not being taken seriously enough in Australia, particularly by the agricultural industry,” said Cancer Council Australia CEO Dr. Sanchia Aranda.
Glyphosate was introduced 40 years ago, and has since become a top-selling weed killer for farmers, horticulturalists, groundskeepers and home gardeners around the world who were led to believe by Roundup’s manufacturer Monsanto that the herbicide was safe. But studies have increasingly linked glyphosate to blood cancer, specifically non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Monsanto was recently acquired by Bayer AG for $63 billion. The company’s vice-president Scott Partridge claims, “It is the safest herbicide that’s ever been developed.” Yet, not all people agree.
In August, Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, a school groundskeeper, sued Monsanto alleging regular exposure to the herbicide caused his terminal diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. A California jury in the landmark trial sided with Johnson, and ordered Monsanto to pay $285 million in damages. Monsanto faces more than 9,000 similar cases in the United States.
The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority has not formally reviewed the safety of glyphosate since 1995, but did a scientific evaluation of the IARC report and determined a formal review of the chemical was not necessary. But critics say that the agency’s transparency and independence is in question since it is primarily funded by the companies it regulates.
Source: ABC Australia