The Environmental Protection Agency said it will no longer approve product labels claiming that glyphosate is known to cause cancer, which the agency said is “a false claim that does not meet the labeling requirements of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide & Rodenticide Act.”
The state of California’s Proposition 65 previously required the labeling for glyphosate to say that it may cause cancer. EPA said this requirement “misinforms the public about the risks they are facing.” EPA issued guidance to registrants of glyphosate to ensure clarity on labeling of the chemical on their products. EPA said the action is based on its comprehensive evaluation of glyphosate.
On Feb. 26, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California issued a preliminary injunction stopping California from enforcing the state warning requirements involving glyphosate’s carcinogenicity, in part on the basis that the required warning statement is false or misleading. The preliminary injunction has not been appealed and remains in place.
"It is irresponsible to require labels on products that are inaccurate when EPA knows the product does not pose a cancer risk. We will not allow California’s flawed program to dictate federal policy,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said. “It is critical that federal regulatory agencies like EPA relay to consumers accurate, scientific-based information about risks that pesticides may pose to them. EPA’s notification to glyphosate registrants is an important step to ensuring the information shared with the public on a federal pesticide label is correct and not misleading.”
In April, EPA took the next step in the review process for glyphosate. EPA found – as it has before – that glyphosate is not a carcinogen and that there are no risks to public health when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label. These scientific findings are consistent with the conclusions of science reviews by many other countries and other federal agencies.
California’s listing of glyphosate as a substance under Prop 65 is based on the International Agency on the Research for Cancer (IARC) classifying it as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” EPA’s independent evaluation of available scientific data included a more extensive and relevant data set than IARC considered during its evaluation of glyphosate, from which the agency concluded that glyphosate is “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” EPA’s cancer classification is consistent with many other international expert panels and regulatory authorities.
Registrants with glyphosate products currently bearing Prop 65 warning language should submit draft amended labeling that removes this language within 90 days, EPA said.
“This is a significant victory for science-based regulation,” Agricultural Retailers Assn. president and chief executive officer Daren Coppock said. “Our members, their farmer customers and the public rely on EPA’s scientific expertise to evaluate pesticides for human health and environmental effects.”
In a joint statement, House Agriculture Committee ranking member Michael Conaway (R., Texas) and biotechnology, horticulture and research subcommittee ranking member Rep. Neal Dunn (R., Fla.) said, "California’s Proposition 65 labeling requirement for products containing glyphosate is misleading and interferes with EPA’s ability to communicate factual information to consumers. We applaud Administrator Wheeler and his team for maintaining the integrity of the pesticide registration process by rejecting these inaccurate labeling requirements.”