Glyphosate not a health risk: Health Canada

Health Canada says glyphosate is not a risk to human health when used according to label directions.

The Pest Management Regulatory Agency issued a proposed re-evaluation decision yesterday on glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup and the most popular herbicide in the world.

The agency said it considered data from product registrants, published scientific reports and data from other regulatory bodies.

“Short- and long-term (lifetime) animal toxicity tests, as well as numerous peer-reviewed studies from the published scientific literature, were assessed for the potential of glyphosate to cause neurotoxicity, immunotoxicity, chronic toxicity, cancer, reproductive and developmental toxicity and various other effects,” PMRA scientists said in a statement, published on Health Canada’s website.

“Toxicology studies in laboratory animals describe potential health effects from varying levels of exposure to a chemical and identify the dose at which no effects are observed. The health effects noted in animals occur at doses more than 100 times higher (and often much higher) than levels to which humans are normally exposed when glyphosate products are used according to label directions.”

The PMRA concluded that glyphosate doesn’t pose a health risk to farmers and other occupations that handle the product.

As well, agency scientists said acute and chronic dietary risks for residues of glyphosate in food and water “are not of concern.”

The report contradicts a recent World Health Organization decision to classify glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

The PMRA mentioned the WHO decision in its report, making a distinction between a hazard assessment and a risk assessment.

“It is important to note that a hazard classification is not a health risk assessment. The level of human exposure, which determines the actual risk, was not taken into account by WHO (IARC),” the PMRA said. “Pesticides are registered for use in Canada only if the level of exposure to Canadians does not cause any harmful effects, including cancer.”

Interested parties have 60 days to comment on the PMRA’s proposed re-evaluation for glyphosate before a final decision is made.


About the author


Stories from our other publications