The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) has been postponed. The meetings would have taken place between October 18-21, and all the discussions were to be centered around glyphosate and whether it is safe or not.

After having intense negotiations with the agrochemical industry, the panel was postponed four days before its start. The agrochemical industry has been fighting harshly to prevent the panel from taking place. All this controversy revolves around the possibility that glyphosate, the world’s most used herbicide, might cause cancer.

“In 2014, farmers sprayed enough glyphosate to apply ~1.0 kg/ha (0.8 pound/acre) on every hectare of U.S.-cultivated cropland,” reads a study titled “Trends in glyphosate herbicide use in the United States and globally.” Image credit: iStock.

Businesses requested EPA to ban some panelists

The agribusiness CropLife America has been pushing EPA to make some changes. Once it knew the list of panelists that would be present, it sent a letter to ban some of the scientists out of the panel. That was the case of Dr. Peter Infante, and Dr. Kenneth Portier, an American Cancer Society member. They told him not to establish pre-formed conclusions. They believe that all the information given in this scientific panel might be biased against the industry’s interests.

Regarding Dr. Peter Infante, they want him disqualified from the podium. He has testified before for plaintiffs in the chemical exposure case against Monsanto, another agribusiness. EPA, after receiving the letter, decided to look for more experts to be at the podium to ensure the facts that will be shared. Even one panelist departed, although their name is not known.

Michael Hansen, a senior staff scientist at the Consumers Union, said he was offended by the previous requests mentioned. He felt that the industries were questioning that the scientists for the panel were not good enough, which is something not very likely.

Peter Infante has an outstanding curriculum. He has been working for 24 years for Occupational Safety and Health Administration helping to determine the cancer risks workers are exposed to when making some toxic substances, such as asbestos, arsenic, and formaldehyde. Also, he is part of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health conducting epidemiological studies related to cancer.

Infante has been an expert consultant in epidemiology in numerous world bodies like the Environment Protection Agency and the World Trade Organization. 

The fact that glyphosate may cause cancer is not beneficial at all to any agribusiness who uses it. It is the key ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicides, among many others. They see this panel as a threat to their business.

The Agency of Research on Cancer has declared that glyphosate might be nocive to human health. Since then, more than three dozen lawsuits have been filed against those companies.

Source: Alternet