The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released its assessment of glyphosate—and what it shows is some heavy-handed industry influence. The study ultimately concluded that glyphosate—the primary ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup—was not a probable carcinogen. But a closer look at the EPA’s sources reveals stronger ties to industry than to science.
The EPA assessment incorporated 131 studies, but only 58 of these came from the open, peer-reviewed literature. 71 other studies used were unpublished and submitted by the industry. This heavy industry slant overwhelmed the independent published findings—including a study that linked glyphosate with the growth of breast cancer cells.
Additionally, the EPA used a “weight of evidence” approach, ranking each study and weighing it against the others. But in a data set so weighed down by industry studies, important independent findings were eclipsed. For instance, the genotoxicity studies from the open literature were almost 35 times more likely to find evidence of glyphosate’s toxicity than those from industry – but the EPA ultimately concluded there was “no convincing evidence” of glyphosate’s toxicity.
In contrast, the World Health Organization used mostly peer-reviewed literature to determine that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” This reliance on independent studies helps avoid an industry-driven conclusion.
We can’t let corporate giants determine the conclusion that serves their bottom line. The EPA needs to perform a meaningful, industry-free review of glyphosate.