Intended for healthcare professionals


Probable carcinogenicity of glyphosate

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: (Published 08 April 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l1613
  1. Manolis Kogevinas, researcher
  1. Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), Barcelona, Spain
  1. manolis.kogevinas{at}

Independent investigation must continue

In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) identified glyphosate, the world’s most commonly used herbicide, as a probable human carcinogen.12 It quickly became evident that separating science from politics and economic interests would be difficult for glyphosate.

IARC’s assessment prompted a major controversy between health evaluation agencies, led to unprecedented lobbying by Monsanto (the primary manufacturer of glyphosate and genetically modified products resistant to glyphosate), and resulted in high profile court cases in the US.3

Glyphosate typifies the problems associated with research, evaluation, and regulation of pesticides. These include serious difficulties in the conduct of human research; important gaps in post-market research into exposure and risk assessment, particularly in low and middle income countries; lack of information on environmental effects; extensive industry involvement in evaluation and regulatory processes; and the major legal implications of these evaluations.

IARC’s 2A grouping of glyphosate as …

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