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Glyphosate update


Bill Reeves, Ph.D.

Public Affairs & Sustainability
Bayer Crop Science

1 /// Glyphosate Briefing /// January 2019

History of Glyphosate

Glyphosate is a HOW IT WORKS:

versatile herbicide Glyphosate works by inhibiting an enzyme
that has been used
for 40+ years by in a process present in plants.
farmers, land
managers and

Glyphosate when applied to a plant, is absorbed and travels to the roots where it
blocks this specific plant enzyme. Without that enzyme, the plant can’t make the
building blocks it needs to grow and the entire plant withers to the ground.

2 /// Glyphosate Briefing /// July 2019

Benefits of Glyphosate

adoption is based
on three key

In the past, farmers controlled weeds by hand

1 Ability to control
a broad spectrum
of weeds

With mechanization, farmers moved to plowing soil, which

contributes to topsoil erosion, and using multiple selective 2 Extensive
economic and
Using glyphosate-based herbicides, farmers can leave soil
intact, supporting soil health and reducing greenhouse gas
3 Strong
safety profile

Glyphosate-based herbicides are mixed with water and

applied as a spray prior to planting, following harvest, or on
certain crops
3 /// Glyphosate Briefing /// July 2019
Testing and Oversight

All crop protection products, including glyphosate, are subject

to rigorous testing and oversight by regulatory agencies.

Before a pesticide Meeting regulatory and The studies are carried out
reaches the market, safety requirements takes according to internationally
companies are several years — and recognized quality standards
required to submit according to a 2016 industry called Good Laboratory
more than 100 study, costs about $71 Practices (GLP).
safety studies to million. This investment
GLP standards are considered
represents a significant
ensure products pose among the highest standard of
no unreasonable risk portion of the overall $286 scientific testing in the world.
Among other things, the GLP
to human health or million and 11-years it program ensures studies submitted
the environment. takes to bring a pesticide for review contain all the raw data —
even if findings are unfavorable to
product to market.
a company’s interest, no data
can be omitted.

4 /// Glyphosate Briefing /// July 2019

Since the IARC report in
Long History of Safe Use 2015, other regulators have
reached conclusions
contrary to IARC’s one
outlier report, and reaffirmed
There is an incredible amount of data supporting the safe
that glyphosate is not
use of glyphosate and glyphosate-based formulated products. carcinogenic, including:

European Food Safety Authorities

The largest and most recent (EFSA)
epidemiologic study – the 2018 European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)
independent National Cancer
Institute long-term study that German BfR
followed more than 50,000
Health Canada
licensed pesticide applicators
– found no association between Australian, Korean, New Zealand and
glyphosate-based herbicides Japanese regulatory authorities
and cancer.
Joint FAO (Food and Agriculture
Additionally, EPA’s 2017 post- Organization) / WHO Meeting on
Pesticide Residues (JMPR)
IARC cancer risk assessment
examined more than 100 studies
Statement from Health Canada
the agency considered relevant January 11, 2019
and concluded …Our scientists left no stone unturned in conducting this review…
that glyphosate is ‘not likely to be
carcinogenic to humans,’ its
most favorable rating.

5 /// Glyphosate Briefing /// July 2019

Who is the International Agency For Research On Cancer (IARC)?

IARC’s opinion is
The confusion about
inconsistent with
glyphosate and cancer IARC is a program within In March 2015, IARC
the overwhelming
stems from one opinion WHO but it is classified
not a regulatory consensus of
from a group called IARC. glyphosate as a
regulatory authorities
authority. “probable carcinogen.”
and other experts
around the world.

The glyphosate litigation

One study limitation IARC Another limitation is that
is basedlargely on
expressly acknowledges: it IARC’s opinion was based
“identifies cancer hazards on a limited and IARC’s opinion.
After IARC’s opinion was
even when risks are very low selective
announced in 2015, U.S.
at current exposure levels,” consideration of
trial lawyers started
which means that its prior scientific
running advertising
classifications do research – as they
campaigns to recruit
not reflect real- did no original research
people for their lawsuits
world exposure. themselves
against Monsanto.

6 /// Glyphosate Briefing /// June 2019

Regulatory Conclusions and Reassessments Post-IARC

2015 2016 2017


3 trials – all N. CA
Current Status of
Litigation 1 case on appeal (Johnson)
1 case to be appealed (Hardeman)

1 case recent ruling on post-trial motions (Pilliod)

8 /// Glyphosate Briefing /// January 2019