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Fact Check: Setting the record straight on the Dr. Oz segment on glyphosate safety

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We watched the Dr. Oz segment, and we stand by our statement: All labeled uses of glyphosate are safe for human health. This is backed up by decades of data on glyphosate that have been extensively reviewed by the U.S. EPA and other regulatory agencies and science organizations, including the European Commission, Health Canada and many others. We welcome dialogue with consumers on these important issues, and we invite anyone with questions about glyphosate safety or other topics to reach out to us at discover.monsanto.com.

On his program today, Dr. Oz said he couldn’t get anyone who supports glyphosate to come on the show. There are many, many scientists around the world who have studied glyphosate and concluded that it is safe to use as an herbicide. We can’t speak to why Dr. Oz couldn’t get other scientists to come on his show. But speaking for ourselves, our employees have given a lot of interviews about the IARC classification, including with one of Dr. Oz’s competitors. But we simply don’t think the Dr. Oz Show’s current approach is a good fit for complicated topics like the IARC classification.

There were several inaccurate points from the discussion on the Dr. Oz show that we feel we need to clarify:

First, IARC did ­not say glyphosate is carcinogenic or has ever given anyone cancer.

In fact, in an article on Dr. Oz’s website, Dr. Michael Greenberg, Professor of Emergency Medicine and Chief, Division of Medical Toxicology at Drexel University College of Medicine, clarifies the type of “hazard assessment” conducted by IARC. Dr. Greenberg also writes, “The weight of evidence strongly suggests that glyphosate does not cause cancer – and if it does, a look at the dose demonstrates a lack of medically significant exposure. Users and the public can be confident that labeled uses of glyphosate products pose no meaningful risk of cancer.”

Second, IARC is not a regulatory agency. IARC and regulatory agencies play very different roles.

IARC makes a classification on a limited data review during a meeting that lasts one week. As a result, their reports often contradict established scientific consensus on products and reach potentially misleading conclusions. Examples of everyday items already listed by IARC as potential cancer agents are coffee, alcohol, aloe vera extract, pickled vegetables and even working as a barber or fry cook. Andrew Maynard, a professor of environmental health sciences and director of the Risk Science Center at the University of Michigan, clearly explains the IARC classification process in a recent YouTube video.

On the other hand, regulatory agencies such as the EPA look at all the studies and data IARC looked at, plus many more, and they’ve all come to the conclusion that glyphosate is not carcinogenic. Regulatory agencies rely on their own experts and decades of comprehensive data, not IARC’s reviews. In a recent email statement to CropLIfe magazine, a spokesperson for the U.S. EPA said the agency last year reviewed 55 epidemiological studies conducted on the possible cancer and non-cancer effects of glyphosate and “concluded that this body of research does not provide evidence to show that glyphosate causes cancer, and it does not warrant any change in EPA’s cancer classification for glyphosate. This is the same conclusion reached in 2004 by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization and affirmed this year by Germany’s pesticide regulatory officials.”

And the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, which just completed a regulatory review on behalf of the European Union, recently stated, “On the basis of the information at the BfR’s disposal, the classification of glyphosate in the Lancet on March 20 as belonging to Group 2A (probably carcinogenic to humans) is scientifically hard to follow and apparently based on very few studies.”

Finally, we want to be very clear: Safeguarding human health and the environment is critical to Monsanto’s business and to each of us at Monsanto on a personal level.

As Donna Farmer, our product protection and nutrition lead, recently wrote on this blog, “We are moms, dads, sisters and brothers and as such, we’re caretakers of each other as well as our planet. Consumers can be confident in the safety of our Roundup® brand herbicides because there are more than three decades of independent scientific evaluations indicating that all approved uses of glyphosate are safe for humans and the environment.”

Read what others are saying at http://www.monsanto.com/iarc-roundup/.

Get the facts about the safety of glyphosate at monsanto.com/glyphosate and glyphosate.eu.

Summaries of recent cancer studies reaffirm glyphosate does not cause cancer in humans or animals.

5 Responses to "Fact Check: Setting the record straight on the Dr. Oz segment on glyphosate safety"

  1. Oz can’t get scientists on his show because he has demonstrated repeated hostility toward them, selective editing and misrepresentation. He also endorses non-scientific views. We scientists have adopted an agreed-upon policy that we will not give him our credibility until he apologizes to those he’s wronged and starts reflecting content consistent with science. I’ve turned him down multiple times now, and we all will continue to do the same.

  2. I was one of the people invited on his show to discuss glyphosate and my initial reaction, and final answer was “no” for the exact same reasons as Dr. Folta explained. He has a 4+ year history of sharing misinformation about modern agriculture practices and it was a medium I was not comfortable sharing my views on glyphosate.

  3. I read that and decided to come here and comment that “Dr. Oz probably could not get anyone to come on his show because he could not find a legitimate scientist who would agree with his views.” Lo and behold, I get to the comment section and find two scientists already here pretty much saying exactly that.

  4. Pingback: Dr. Oz Called Me on my Birthday - Nurse Loves Farmer

  5. Pingback: Dr. Oz “Editing Down the Truth” | BIOtechNow

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