Today, Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) further addressed last week’s
assessment on glyphosate by the International Agency for Research on
Cancer (IARC).

“We are outraged with this assessment,” said Dr. Robb Fraley, Monsanto’s
Chief Technology Officer. “This conclusion is inconsistent with the
decades of ongoing comprehensive
safety reviews
by the leading regulatory authorities around the
world that have concluded that all labeled uses of glyphosate are safe
for human health. This result was reached by selective ‘cherry picking’
of data and is a clear example of agenda-driven bias.”

The repeated safety assessments by regulatory authorities over the last
three decades have formed the foundation for the long history of safe,
highly effective use of this important
agricultural tool
in more than 160 countries around the world.

Decisions regarding product safety and approvals for pesticides are
governed by regulatory agencies such as the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Commission, as well as
independent scientific advisory bodies such as the European Food Safety
Authority (EFSA). IARC has no regulatory authority and its decision does
not impact glyphosate’s label, current registration or use.

“Safety is the top priority for every person who works at Monsanto.
Glyphosate-based herbicides on the market meet the rigorous standards
set by the regulatory and health authorities who work every day to
protect human health, and we want our customers and consumers to be
assured of these evaluations,” Fraley added.

In contrast to the comprehensive review that regulators around the world
have completed over three decades, IARC issued its classification based
on a limited data review after hours of discussion at a one-week
meeting. Further, IARC is one of four programs within the World Health
Organization (WHO) that have reviewed the safety of glyphosate and their
classification is inconsistent with the assessments of the other
programs. Two of the WHO programs – the Core Assessment Group and the
International Programme on Chemical Safety – both concluded glyphosate
is not carcinogenic. The WHO Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality
program concluded glyphosate does not represent a hazard to human health.

“IARC’s work is not a study, and it references no new data or studies,”
said Fraley. “Instead, IARC only looked at a limited number of existing
studies. Respected agencies around the world have looked at the same
studies, plus many more, and determined that all labeled uses of
glyphosate are safe. IARC’s process is not transparent, its decision is
irresponsible, and it has the potential to cause confusion about such an
important issue as safety.”

Monsanto joins other members of the EU Glyphosate Taskforce and Joint
Glyphosate Taskforce in disagreement with IARC’s classification for the
following reasons:

  • IARC’s classification is not a study. There
    is no new data here.
    As recently as January, the German
    completed a rigorous, four-year evaluation of
    glyphosate for the European Union. The German regulators reviewed
    every study IARC considered, plus significantly more, and concluded
    “glyphosate was unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk in humans.”
  • Relevant, scientific data were excluded from
    IARC disregarded and failed to acknowledge dozens
    of scientific studies that support the conclusion glyphosate is not a
    human health risk. One particular study they disregarded was the Agricultural
    Health Study
    – a 20-year, multi-million dollar study funded by
    U.S. taxpayers to study cancer and other health outcomes among farmers
    and their spouses. More than 89,000 people have participated in this
    study since 1993, and 20 years of study data support the conclusion
    that there is no credible evidence that glyphosate can cause cancer.
  • The conclusion is not supported by scientific
    IARC’s classification is inconsistent with the
    numerous, comprehensive assessments conducted by hundreds of
    scientists from countries worldwide who are responsible for ensuring
    public safety. In addition, IARC egregiously misrepresented the
    results and conclusions of a 2004
    Joint United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization /WHO Meeting on
    Pesticide Residues (JMPR)
    . In its March 20 online summary in
    Lancet Oncology, IARC specifically cites one sentence from the 2004
    FAO/WHO report, when – just several sentences away – the report
    clearly states, “In conclusion, administration of glyphosate …
    produced no signs of carcinogenic potential at any dose.” This study
    also has been reviewed by numerous regulatory agencies around the
    world, and all have concluded there is no evidence of carcinogenicity.
  • IARC’s classification does not establish a
    link between glyphosate and an increase in cancer.
    review is limited and the process is designed to result in possible
    and probable classifications. IARC’s assessment of glyphosate is
    similar to their contested assessment of other everyday items such as
    coffee, cell phones, pickled vegetables and occupations including
    barber and fry cook.

“Conclusions about something as important as human safety and health
must be based on a non-biased, thorough and rigorous scientific process
that adheres to internationally recognized standards,” Fraley added.
“Unfortunately, in this case, IARC’s review did not meet the standards
used by respected regulatory agencies around the world. I would ask that
people not take our word for it, but look at the decades
of conclusions from respected regulators
. Given the importance of
the safety of glyphosate to consumers and growers alike, we will
continue to urgently pursue our request that the WHO provide
transparency on the IARC process and account for the studies both used
and disregarded in drawing its conclusion.”

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