The Australian regulator of agricultural chemical products has responded to growing concerns over the safety of herbicide products containing glyphosate, such as Roundup, declaring them safe when used “according to label directions”.
The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) released a statement in response to a Four Corners episode that aired on 8 October 2018. The episode raised concerns over the safety of glyphosate products in Australia, and claimed US manufacturer Monsanto had concealed evidence that linked products like Roundup to cancer.
It also accused Monsanto of campaigning to discredit scientists who raised safety concerns over glyphosate, including a 2015 decision from the International Agency for Research on Cancer that classed glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans”.
All this follows a recent decision in the Californian Superior Court that awarded US$289 million (A$408 million) to a school gardener who claimed that excessive exposure to Roundup caused his terminal non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
However, the regulator said there was no cause for concern in Australia, and that all chemicals were thoroughly and independently tested.
“The APVMA considered the evidence presented in the Californian case and found no grounds to take regulatory action in Australia.”
“The APVMA understands that the public may have concern regarding glyphosate. There is a lot of information out there, and discussion in the media does not always get the facts or the science right.”
“Australia’s risk-based, scientific approach to regulation ensures that each agricultural chemical product is thoroughly and independently assessed by the APVMA prior to registration and supply.”
“The registration system is supported by a range of post market surveillance, compliance, audit verification and review activities that ensure products available in Australia continue to be used safely and effectively.”
The APVMA also said the 2015 IARC report, along with”many other scientific trials and studies”, provided valuable input to its assessment of glyphosate as safe when used according to label directions.
The regulator noted that is has a history of holding industry to account, including recently fining Accensi Pty Ltd, $100,000 for supplying herbicides containing chemicals that weren’t listed in the registered formulation.
Information relating to the APVMA’s examination of glyphosate is available online.