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What the EPA withdrawal from review means for glyphosate

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced its withdrawal from the review of all remaining portions of glyphosate ID, including the remanded ecological portion.

On September 21, the EPA released a memorandum saying that they were unable to meet the court-ordered deadline. Now, the EPA is redoing its glyphosate assessment with a completion date of 2026, when the product is up for re-review. 

The canceled decision will allow the original review allowing glyphosate use to stand. In the meantime, growers may continue to use glyphosate for crop management until the final review in 2026.

The EPA also intends to complete an Endangered Species Act consultation, and make a Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP) determination before issuing a final registration review in 2026.

The EPA says that they already began formal ESA consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service for glyphosate in November 2021, and consultation is ongoing.

Prior determination by the EPA suggested there was not sufficient evidence to incriminate glyphosate in causing cancer. Lawsuits were filed with the agency beginning in March 2020, pressing the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to call for a reassessment by the EPA prior to October 1st — only 106 days after the court orders. 

»Related: Glyphosate — the Internet’s fearmongering darling


EPA findings regarding glyphosate and human health

In the June 17, 2022, decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated the human health portion of the glyphosate ID and remanded it to the EPA for further analysis and explanation. 

The original EPA review found that glyphosate:

  • Used according to label directions will not result in human health risks to children or adults.
  • Poses no greater risk for children.
  • Is not likely to be carcinogenic for humans.
  • Includes no indication as an endocrine disruptor.

What happens next?

The EPA plans on revisiting and better explaining the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate, and evaluating other risks for human health. The following issues set for evaluation include:

  • Are additional or different mitigation measures necessary based on the outcome of ESA consultation for glyphosate?
  • Are there other aspects of the EPA’s analysis of ecological risks and costs related to glyphosate that should be reassessed or for which additional explanation should be provided?
  • What risk mitigation measures may be necessary to reduce potential risks following completion of analyses left outstanding in the ID?
  • Prepare an analysis of in-field effects of glyphosate on monarch butterfly habitat.
  • Consider whether the EPA’s analysis of spray drift risks and other potential costs of dicamba are relevant to the EPA’s analysis of glyphosate’s risk from spray drift.
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