IARC, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, says there’s “strong evidence” that exposure to glyphosate is genotoxic, and that it’s “probably carcinogenic to humans” too. But the EU’s European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) still swears by pesticide industry studies that say it’s not so.
That’s why SumOfUs asked renowned experts in genetic toxicology to comb through EFSA’s recently released stash of glyphosate genotox studies, to see what's so special about them. The result is a damning 187-page evaluation of the scientific quality of the industry studies.
Of the 53 industry-funded studies used for the EU’s current authorization of glyphosate, 34 were identified as "not reliable", 17 as "partly reliable" and only 2 studies as "reliable" from a methodological point of view. According to the experts, Dr. Armen Nersesyan and Prof. Siegfried Knasmüller, the EU authority's claim that glyphosate is not genotoxic cannot be justified on the basis of these studies.
* "Not Reliable" means the study showed substantial deviations from applicable OECD Test Guideline (a deviation that could be expected to impair the sensitivity and/or accuracy of the test system). ** "Partly Reliable" means the study showed moderate deviations from applicable OECD Test Guideline.
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About the authors:
Prof. Siegfried Knasmüller studied biology and chemistry at the University of Vienna; his thesis concerned bacterial mutagenicity tests. SK was visiting scientist at the Institute of Environmental Health (School of Medicine) of the University of Cleveland (Illinois) and at the US EPA (North Carolina). Since 1983 SK works at the Institute of Cancer Research, Medical University of Vienna. He is a head of the Environmental Toxicology Group. SK published 255 articles in peer-reviewed journals (Scopus) as well as four text books on genetic toxicology. He has a Hirsch-index of 52, and was cited > 9,000 times. Currently, SK is editor of the journal “Mutation Research – Genetic Toxicology” and co-editor of the journal “Food and Chemical Toxicology”.
Dr. Armen Nersesyan studied biophysics at Yerevan State University and at the Institute of Normal and Pathological Physiology, Moscow (USSR). He also studied animal science at the University of Utrecht (the Netherlands) and molecular epidemiology at the NCI, Bethesda (US) and the IARC (France). His thesis concerned modification of genotoxic and carcinogenic effects of chemicals and radiation with different effect modifiers of biological origin. AN was visiting scientist at the Rowett Research Institute, Aberdeen (UK), the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Wuerzburg (Germany) and the National Cancer Research Institute, (Genoa, Italy). In 1974 – 2003 AN worked at the National Center of Oncology, Yerevan, Armenia; since 2003 at the Institute of Cancer Research of Medical University of Vienna till his retirement in 2018. AN published 144 articles in peer-reviewed journals and has a Hirsch-index of 32, he was cited > 2,000 times.
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Learn more from NGO partners:
- The Glyphosate Story So Far: Controversy over Science, Lawsuits and Dodgy Lobbying Tactics
- Frequently Asked Questions
Read about it in the media:
- The Guardian: Corporate studies asserting herbicide safety show many flaws, new analysis finds
- Der Spiegel: Die Geheimakte Glyphosat
- Le Monde: Réautorisation du glyphosate en Europe : la qualité des études réglementaires en cause
- De Standaard: Europees voedselagentschap weer onder vuur na bedenkelijke glyfosaat-studies
- Zembla: ‘Studies die EU gebruikt voor toelating glyfosaat vol fouten en gebrekkig uitgevoerd’
- + RadioFrance, Krone, Welt, Deutschlandfunk, Ntv, EcoRéseau, GreenMe, Knack
Last updated: 7 July 2021