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Health Canada upholds decision to keep glyphosate products on the market

Health Canada scientists announced there is no reason to believe the scientific evidence they used to approve the continued use of glyphosate in weed killers was tainted.

On Friday, they rejected arguments that the ingredient in herbicides like Monsanto's Roundup causes cancer if the substances are used as intended.

The department's Pest Management Regulatory Agency already assessed glyphosate in 2017 and approved it for continued use in Canada with some additional labelling requirements. The review, which looked at over 1,300 different studies, concluded glyphosate products pose no risk to people or the environment as long as they are labelled and properly used.

<who> Photo Credit: Canadian Press

Glyphosate is used in more than 130 products sold in Canada and has been used by many farmers to keep weeds out of crops.

After the decision, eight groups made objections, many of which stated the evidence used to approve the product was tainted because Monsanto influenced the results. Their accusations were based on documents filed in a lawsuit where a groundskeeper was awarded a multimillion-dollar settlement because jurors decided his cancer was linked to glyphosate.

The groups, which included the likes of Ecojustice, Environmental Defence, and Canadian Physicians for the Environment, wanted Health Minister Ginette Petipas Taylor to order an independent review of the Health Canada decision. Instead, Health Canada assigned 20 scientists not part of the original review to look at the findings. Connie Moase, a director in the health-effects division of the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, mentioned the scientists "left no stone unturned" in reviewing the decision.

“The objections raised did not create doubt or concern regarding the scientific basis for the 2017 re-evaluation decision for glyphosate,” said Moase.

Moase went on to say that no pest regulatory management agency worldwide claim that glyphosate causes cancer at current levels of exposure.

Monsanto has previously denied any attempt to influence scientific studies on glyphosate.

With files from the Canadian Press.

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