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A new analysis of more than 50 secrets in the past, supported by corporate scientific studies raises questions about a history of trust in the management of such research to assess the safety of the widely used chemical weedkilling known to glyphosate, the essential ingredient in popularity Roundup herbicide.
In a 187-page report released last week, researchers from The Institute of Cancer Research at the Medical University of Vienna in Austria said to be a thorough review of 53 safety studies submitted by regulators by many chemical companies has shown that most do not comply with modern international standards for scientific rigor, and lack the types of tests that better detect cancer risks.
“The quality of these studies, not in all, but in most of these studies is not very good. The health authorities… accepted some of the very poor studies as informative and acceptable, unreasonably from from a scientific point of view, ”Siegfried Knasmueller, the study’s lead author told the Guardian.
Glyphosate is the most widely used poison in the world, and it is especially popular with farmers who grow common food crops. But there is a heated debate in many countries about whether or not glyphosate Herbicides should continue to be used due to concerns that they can cause cancer.
As Mexico prepares to eliminate glyphosate + GMO corn crops, a coalition of groups has called on top U.S. officials to “avoid interference with [Mexico’s] right to implement health -protected policies. ” #TheDefender https://t.co/yaHzBODvfs
– Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (@RobertKennedyJr) May 6, 2021
The corporate study focused on the genotoxic properties of glyphosate – causal or not DNA damage – and they support corporate commitments that the chemical is safe when used as prescribed and does not cause cancer. They are commanded and / or led first Monsanto Co., which is now part of Bayer AG, as well Syngenta, Dow, and others involved in the manufacture and / or sale of glyphosate.
Although some of the studies began in those decades, they have been part of recent submissions by regulators on Europe and the U.S., where regulators agree to end companies with no cancer risk with glyphosate. European officials also confirmed that view in an 11,000-page report issued last month.
The new analysis challenges those safety assurances, finding that most of the methods used in industry studies are out of date and do not comply with international quality standards.
Of the 53 studies submitted by regulators at companies, only two were accepted, in line with what is currently recognized by international scientific standards, according to Knasmueller.
Particularly problematic, he said, is the focus of testing for chromosome damage in the early stages of red blood cells in the bone marrow in laboratory rats and mice. These tests routinely detect only 50-60% of carcinogens, according to Knasmueller. “A lot of carcinogens go undetected in this way,” he said.
A type of test known as the “comet test” has a much higher value for identifying carcinogens because it can count and detect DNA damage in individual cells in different organs. , and is commonly used for the evaluation of genotoxicity, according to Knasmueller. But no comet test tests were included, according to the analysis.
“I don’t understand why health authorities don’t ask for such data,” said Knasmueller, who is an expert in genetic toxicology and co-founder at the cancer institute is editor-in-chief of the two famous scientific journals, including Mutation Research – Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis.
Knasmueller was asked to review the studies on SumOfUs non-profit advocacy group, even if he says he is not paid for the work. A co -author of the study and fellow scientist at the cancer institute, Armen Nersesyan, was paid nearly 3,500 ($ 4,146).
If Knasmueller’s observations are correct, the newly discovered errors in industry studies mean that assurance about the safety of glyphosate in Europe and the U.S. is based, at least in part, on poor science.
Linda Birnbaum, former director of the U.S. National Institute for Environmental Health Science, says there is an ongoing problem of non -rare glyphosate among regulators taking industry studies “in the word of the industry,” while ignoring the reds. flag raised by not funded by the industry. RESEARCH REVEALS
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said it could not comment on the analysis but said all interested parties would have the opportunity to submit comments on the draft glyphosate analysis. The agency did not answer a question about its level of confidence in the veracity of industry studies.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has confirmed that there are no need for comet testing but said the agency will “try to use high-quality studies” and “a broad set of data” when examining pesticides. Likewise, the EPA is “independently evaluating study requirements for science adoption” that meets agency and international guidelines, according to an EPA spokesperson.
The analysis comes at a critical time as Bayer and a number of companies calling themselves the Glyphosate Renewal Group (GRG) are once again asking European regulators to allow glyphosate before the permit expires next year, and as the industry fights to preserve the world’s use of glyphosate. .
Prohibitions or reductions in use apply for many countries, including Mexico, where a glyphosate ban should take effect in 2024, and in France, where the government last year announced financial incentives for farmers who stopped using the chemical. In the US, New York City recently forbidden glyphosate use of city property and other cities enforce reductions or prohibitions.
This ban is an important recognition of the fourth most populous state in the country that the #EPA insufficient protection of people and the environment from danger #pesticides. #TheDefender https://t.co/rONTw8VHKI
– Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (@RobertKennedyJr) January 13, 2021
GRG did not respond to a request for comment. But Bayer, a leading member of the GRG, said the package of studies submitted by the administrators was “one of the most comprehensive scientific dossiers compiled for an active pesticide ingredient.”
Bayer said for the current registration review, it is “necessary” to submit the oldest genotoxicity studies along with the newest corporate genotoxicity studies. Likewise, the companies submitted to regulators “a number of reviews of thousands of published scientific publications about glyphosate,” according to a Bayer spokesman.
Concerns about glyphosate have been around since 2015 when the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization, classified glyphosate as a potential human carcinogen based on scientific findings. study conducted by independent researchers. Unlike regulators, IARC primarily relies on a large group of published and peer-reviewed research and not industry studies in its classification.
The IARC classification led a group of European legislators in 2017 to demand access to industry studies provided by regulators but were barred from public scrutiny. Monsanto is branded as a “confidential company.”
A court decision in 2019 forced EFSA to provide public access, however, cleared the way for scrutiny like the Knasmueller analysis.
It is unclear whether some or all of the 53 studies reviewed in the analysis of the package submitted by GRG to European authorities.
Glyphosate was narrowly given a five-year change in Europe in December 2017 after the European parliament voted against the change.
Several dubious communications between Monsanto and regulators have been known in recent years, including the fact that EFSA rejected a study linking the company’s weedkiller to cancer after consultation with a U.S. EPA official associated with Monsanto. The documents also show that an EU report declaring glyphosate safe in part was copied and pasted from the Monsanto study.
And when EPA consulted at a scientific advice panel gathered in Washington DC in December 2016, panel members complained that EPA officials did not follow proper scientific guidelines for how to evaluate research on the subject. on the health effects of glyphosate.
“It once again puts a finger on a disease area: that national promoters don’t seem to pay too much attention to looking at the quality of industry studies,” said Nina Holland, the group’s researcher. custodian Corporate Europe Observatory. “It’s shocking because their job is to protect people’s health and the environment, not to serve the interests of the pesticide industry.”
Originally published on The Keeper.