| March 24
March 24 Monsanto Co, maker of the
world's most widely used herbicide, Roundup, wants an
international health organization to retract a report linking
the chief ingredient in Roundup to cancer.
The company said on Tuesday that the report, issued on
Friday by the World Health Organization's International Agency
for Research on Cancer (IARC), was biased and contradicts
regulatory findings that the ingredient, glyphosate, is safe
when used as labeled.
A working group of the IARC, based in Lyon, France, said
after reviewing scientific literature it was classifying
glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans."
"We question the quality of the assessment," Philip Miller,
Monsanto vice president of global regulatory affairs, said on
Tuesday in an interview. "The WHO has something to explain."
Monsanto officials have asked to meet with WHO and IARC
members, and Miller said the company wants a retraction.
A representative of the IARC could not immediately be
reached for comment on Tuesday.
Miller said the company provided scientific data to the IARC
showing the safety of glyphosate, but that the agency largely
Miller said the IARC report should not affect the safety
review of glyphosate currently under way by the Environmental
The EPA, which has the power to limit or ban use of
glyphosate, said it would look at the WHO report as part of the
Farmers have been using glyphosate in increasing quantities
since Monsanto in the mid-1990s introduced crops genetically
engineered to withstand being sprayed with Roundup herbicide.
"Roundup Ready" corn, soybeans and other crops are popular
because of the ease with which farmers have been able to kill
weeds. But weeds have developed resistance to glyphosate,
leading farmers to use more herbicide.
The U.S. Geological Survey estimated agricultural use of
glyphosate in 2012, the most recent year available, at more than
283 million pounds, up from 110 million pounds in 2002.
The United States and other international regulatory bodies
have backed the safety of glyphosate when used as directed, but
the IARC report cited studies that raised concerns about
glyphosate and impacts on health.
Monsanto says such studies are invalid. But critics say they
"There are a number of independent, published manuscripts
that clearly indicate that glyphosate ... can promote cancer and
tumor growth," said Dave Schubert, head of the cellular
neurobiology laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological
Studies in La Jolla, California. "It should be banned."
(Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City, Mo.; editing by