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Glyphosate Assessment Ongoing
Wednesday, June 22, 2016 5:30PM CDT

By Todd Neeley
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) -- EPA expects to release the final cancer assessment on glyphosate sometime this fall, after the assessment was inadvertently posted to the agency's website April 29 and then removed days later.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told the House Science, Space and Technology Committee on Wednesday the agency's action in pulling the report from the website May 2 was in no way indicative of what may be to come for the off-patent herbicide ingredient.

"That memo ... was mistakenly released by the contractor," she said. "It was a step in the process in the agency's decision. We don't want to confuse the public with interim decisions. The issue is large enough that it warrants a larger agency review. This is one of these cases."

The EPA's independent Cancer Assessment Review Committee (CARC) report, entitled, "Cancer Assessment Evaluation of the Carcinogenic Potential of Glyphosate," was completed last October and stated "FINAL REPORT." The CARC report concludes glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans. EPA officials posted the report April 29 then removed it May 2. Yet EPA insisted when the agency took down the report that more work needed to be done. An agency spokesperson told DTN at the time that EPA officials were unclear why the report was posted, calling it a mistake.

Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., said there is concern among the farm community the agency's action may indicate a disagreement with the CARC's conclusions.

"If it's not final, why is it marked?" he said. "The concern with us is that it was overruled somewhere else on high."

McCarthy said EPA's action to remove the report has more to do with the overall agency process of examining glyphosate.

"Our Cancer Assessment Review Committee does great work," she told the committee. "This is not an indication we don't agree with the assessment. We'll try to get out the final report as soon as possible based on the concerns raised.

"The problem was it was not a final agency decision."

Said Lucas, "This is not good for anyone to do it this way."

Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world, but regulators in both Europe and the U.S. have been reviewing the science and market approval for the herbicide ever since the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Europe concluded in March 2015 that glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic to humans."

The House Science Committee's investigation focuses not only on the inadvertent release of the EPA's report, but whether there was any connection between the EPA's analysis and conclusions reached by the IARC. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the science committee, wrote EPA on June 7 seeking more details about the circumstances behind the release of the CARC report.

"The IARC report contradicts the findings of the final CARC report that was removed from EPA's website," Smith said in a statement to DTN. "The fact that EPA officials participated in the IARC study raises many questions about conflict of interest. The committee intends to determine the role EPA officials played in the IARC study and how that may influence EPA's glyphosate analysis."

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @toddneeleyDTN


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