A research center for Cancer of the World Health Organization (WHO) has found that a popular herbicide, called glyphosate, can cause growth of cancerous cells in the humans.
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), WHO’s French-based cancer research department, on Friday released the findings of its latest study which followed five insecticides and herbicides and analysed their carcinogenicity.
Glyphosate, a globally known herbicide that is found in weed killers such as Roundup, was classified as probably carcinogenic to humans. Four insecticides named, tetrachlorvinphos, parathion, malathion and diazinon, were also listed in the same category of possibly carcinogenic to humans.
While, use of Parathion is no longer authorized in the United States and the European Union, Tetrachlorvinphos is banned in the European Union. However, Tetrachlorvinphos is still used for domestic animals and livestock, including in flea collars. On the other hand, both Diazinon and Malathion are used in the purpose of residential insect control and agriculture. Notably, Diazinon has faced several restrictions since 2006.
An IARC press release said, “Glyphosate, though, currently has the highest global production volume of all herbicides, its use in agricultural purposes has increased sharply since the development of genetically modified crops that resistant to it.”
“Glyphosate is also used in forestry, urban and home applications. It has been detected in the air during spraying, in water as well as in food. The general population is exposed primarily through residence near sprayed areas, diet, home use, and the level that has been observed is generally low,” the press release further said.
The US Environmental Protection Agency will be taking up the task to conduct fresh review of the rules for glyphosate this year.