Glyphosate reporting slammed by Croplife Australia CEO

THE reporting on local councils' continued use of herbicides that contain the active ingredient glyphosate has been slammed by the Croplife Australia's CEO as misleading and inaccurate.

In a media statement released yesterday evening, Matthew Cossey said an ABC Online article and subsequent reporting on the use of glyphosate contained several serious factual inaccuracies and was misleading in regard to the context of the International Agency for Research on Cancer's (IARC) Report. 

He said the article that "simply regurgitates false activist propaganda against overwhelming independent global scientific analysis" was irresponsible and effectively misleads consumers.

Croplife Australia is the nation's peak industry organisation representing the agricultural chemical and biotechnology sector in Australia.

"The article fails to mention the recent European Food Safety Authority's (EFSA) peer review that concluded glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans and the evidence does not support classification with regard to its carcinogenic potential," he said.

"It also omits pertinent information such as the fact that all glyphosate products have been extensively and independently assessed by regulators in the USA, Canada, Australia and Europe and found to be safe."

"More recent findings have concluded that glyphosate is unlikely to pose even a carcinogenic hazard let alone an actual risk. Such inaccuracies could have been avoided if the original article was properly fact checked or at least a credible alternative view sought."

The IARC is one of four programs within the World Health Organization (WHO) that have reviewed the safety of glyphosate, he said.


"Two of the four 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.

"The reason for this is that the IARC report is not a risk assessment; it very narrowly determines the potential for a specific compound to cause cancer under some circumstances, even if those circumstances are unlikely to occur.

"For example, working the night shift or being a hairdresser are classified as probably cancer-causing, the same as glyphosate, because one job disrupts the body's circadian rhythms and the other involves exposure to dyes. Coffee and aloe vera are "possible" carcinogens according to the IARC list."

Mr Cossey said all agricultural chemical products undertook a chemical risk assessment which included an exposure assessment to ensure their safety for human health and the environment.

"Globally, and in Australia, the registration process of all pesticides involves years of data collection and comprehensive assessment before approvals are granted and a product can be sold on the Australian market," he said.

"It's crucial that news reporting on technical, scientific information is accurate, factual and not driven by activists' misplaced political agendas."

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