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posted by martyb on Thursday May 19 2016, @08:19AM   Printer-friendly
from the you-pay-your-money-you-take-your-chances dept.

[The WHO] and the Food and Agriculture Organization have come out with a statement that glyphosate is "unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk in humans". And this only a year after another UN agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, stated what looks like the exact opposite, that it could "probably" be a cause of cancer in humans. Later on last year, the European Food Safety Authority said that glyphosate is "unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard".

[...] the difference is that the IARC is looking at the question from a "Is there any possible way, under any conditions at all, that glyphosate could be a carcinogen?", while the FAO and WHO are giving an answer to the questions "Is glyphosate actually causing cancer in people?"

[...] "Risk", technically speaking, refers to your chances of being harmed under real-world conditions, while "hazard" refers to the potential for harm.

Under real-world conditions, eating a normal amount of bacon raise your risk of colorectal cancer by an amount too small to consider. But it does appear to be raising it by a reproducible, measurable amount, and therefore bacon (and other processed meats) are in the IARC's category 1.
[...] It's important to note that some hypothetical substance that reproducibly, in human studies, gives anyone cancer every single time they touch it would also be in category 1, the same as a hypothetical substance that reproducibly, in human studies, raises a person's risk of cancer by one millionth of a per cent. Same category. These categories are not arranged by relative risk – they're arranged by how good the evidence is. Glyphosate is in category 2A, which means that there is evidence from animal studies, but limited/insufficient evidence from humans as of yet.
[...] So yes, by the standards of the available evidence, glyphosate is in the same cancer hazard category as working the night shift, or working as a hairdresser.

TFA is interesting and worth a read, especially for its use of a shark analogy explaining the difference between risk and hazard.

Link: Glyphosate And Cancer By Derek Lowe
Additional Wired link: Does Monsanto's Roundup Herbicide Cause Cancer or Not? The Controversy, Explained


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19 2016, @12:54PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19 2016, @12:54PM (#348283)

    Our back yard has settled in several places, to the point that it's difficult to mow. This might be a side effect of the leach field underneath, which was installed when the house was built in the early 1960s. This suburb has city water, but no sewers.

    One of the two quotes we received included using RoundUp to kill the existing grass & weed mixture, then add top soil, fertilize and re-seed. This guy claimed that any air under the new topsoil (held in by old grass) would keep the new grass from growing. I really didn't like the idea of about 1500 feet-square of poison application, about 30 feet from the back of the house.

    The other quote includes adding top soil, fertilizer and seed directly over the existing lawn, no pretreatment. Also includes very detailed watering instructions...this one is about half the price and we are tempted to try the simpler approach. Of course if it doesn't take, then we have to repeat the process for more $$$.

  • (Score: 2) by bitstream on Thursday May 19 2016, @11:59PM

    by bitstream (6144) on Thursday May 19 2016, @11:59PM (#348560) Journal

    Put a geo-textile, then add top soil, fertilize and re-seed. The textile will prevent the growth beneath it.