May 28, 2017

Open letter to Jean Claude Juncker, President, European Commission

Review of the Carcinogenicity of Glyphosate by ECM, EFSA and BfR

by Christopher J. Portier

EFSA and EChA have completed their assessments of the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate and concluded that the evidence does not support a classification for glyphosate.  The raw data for the animal cancer studies for glyphosate have been released and a reanalysis of these data show eight instances where significant increases in tumor response following glyphosate exposure were not included in the assessment by either EFSA or EChA.  This suggests that the evaluations applied to the glyphosate data are scientifically flawed and any decisions derived from these evaluations will fail to protect public health. 

We ask that the evaluations by both EFSA and EChA be repeated for all toxicological endpoints and the data underlying these evaluations be publicly released.

Link here


Christopher J. Portier, PhD is:

  • Former Director US National Center for Environmental Health
  • Former Director US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
  • Former Associate Director, US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
  • Former Associate Director US National Toxicology Program
  • Fellow, American Statistical Association
  • Fellow, International Statistics Institute


Differences in the carcinogenic evaluation of glyphosate between the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)

Portier CJ et al.

Link here

Scientific evidence on the chromosomal damage induced by glyphosate in experimental systems.

Does exposure to glyphosate lead to an increase in the micronuclei frequency? A systematic and meta-analytic review. 

Ghisi Nde C1, de Oliveira EC2, Prioli AJ3.

Chemosphere. 2016 Feb;145:42-54. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.

Glyphosate-based herbicides are among the most used pesticides worldwide. Reviews on the safety of glyphosate have been conducted by several regulatory agencies and researches centers, many times with contradictory results. This study is a systematic meta-analytical review of experimental studies on the relationship between exposure to the glyphosate (GLY) and its formulations with the formation of micronuclei (MN) to establish a quantitative estimate of the environmental risks. The natural logarithm (ln) of the estimated response ratio was calculated from 81 experiments. A meta-analysis was performed on the complete data set, and individual meta-analyses were conducted after stratification by test system, class of vertebrate, exposure route, gender, endpoints, type of literature, formulation, GLY dose and exposure time. A forest plot showed an overall positive association between GLY exposure and its formulations and MN, corroborated by the cumulative effects size. Different responses were observed on mammalian and non-mammalian. Interesting results was noticed in exposure route where oral administration of GLY presented no significance. Exposure by intraperitoneal injection presented the highest MN formation. Pure GLY caused fewer effects than to commercial mixtures, but both presented mutagenic effects. The studies with males presented significant responses, while studies with females were not significant. The cumulative effects size was not clearly related to GLY dose, and was negatively related to exposure time. It can be attributed to different test systems, exposure routes and protocols analyzed. In conclusion, our results support the hypothesis that exposure to GLY and its formulations increases the frequency of MN formation.

Biomonitoring of genotoxic risk in agricultural workers from five colombian regions: association to occupational exposure to glyphosate.

Bolognesi C1, Carrasquilla GVolpi SSolomon KRMarshall EJ.

J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2009;72(15-16):986-97. doi: 10.1080/15287390902929741.

In order to assess possible human effects associated with glyphosate formulations used in the Colombian aerial spray program for control of illicit crops, a cytogenetic biomonitoring study was carried out in subjects from five Colombian regions, characterized by different exposure to glyphosate and other pesticides. Women of reproductive age (137 persons 15-49 yr old) and their spouses (137 persons) were interviewed to obtain data on current health status, history, lifestyle, including past and current occupational exposure to pesticides, and factors including those known to be associated with increased frequency of micronuclei (MN). In regions where glyphosate was being sprayed, blood samples were taken prior to spraying (indicative of baseline exposure), 5 d after spraying, and 4 mo after spraying. Lymphocytes were cultured and a cytokinesis-block micronucleus cytome assay was applied to evaluate chromosomal damage and cytotoxicity. Compared with Santa Marta, where organic coffee is grown without pesticides, the baseline frequency of binucleated cells with micronuclei (BNMN) was significantly greater in subjects from the other four regions. The highest frequency of BNMN was in Boyaca, where no aerial eradication spraying of glyphosate was conducted, and in Valle del Cauca, where glyphosate was used for maturation of sugar cane. Region, gender, and older age (> or =35 yr) were the only variables associated with the frequency of BNMN measured before spraying. A significant increase in frequency of BNMN between first and second sampling was observed in Narino, Putumayo, and Valle immediately (<5 d) after spraying. In the post-spray sample, those who reported direct contact with the eradication spray showed a higher quantitative frequency of BNMN compared to those without glyphosate exposure. The increase in frequency of BNMN observed immediately after the glyphosate spraying was not consistent with the rates of application used in the regions and there was no association between self-reported direct contact with eradication sprays and frequency of BNMN. Four months after spraying, a statistically significant decrease in the mean frequency of BNMN compared with the second sampling was observed in Narino, but not in Putumayo and Valle del Cauca. Overall, data suggest that genotoxic damage associated with glyphosate spraying for control of illicit crops as evidenced by MN test is small and appears to be transient. Evidence indicates that the genotoxic risk potentially associated with exposure to glyphosate in the areas where the herbicide is applied for coca and poppy eradication is low.

Databank: Patients intoxicated with fumigants

Please report any intoxication with fumigants or chemical residues you become aware of to the EOMSociety in order to upgrade our database. That can lead to relevant improvements in diagnostics and treatment of intoxicated patients.  

An updated English version as well as a new French version of the "questionnaire for patients intoxicated with fumigants or chemical residues" are now available.   

To get access to the databank, please register as a EOMSociety Member and visit the MEMBERS Area.

Governments must urgently act to reduce the health and environmental hazards posed by the increase in use of chemicals in industries worldwide, says a United Nations report launched yesterday, which stresses that more sustainable management policies are needed to address this growing risk. Produced by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Global Chemicals Outlook report argues that a shift in the production, use and disposal of chemical products from developed to developing countries has made it essential to establish better management policies.

Download report

Alavanja MCR, Ross MK, Bonner MR. "Increased Cancer Burden Among Pesticide Applicators and Others Due to Pesticide Exposure." CA CANCER J CLIN 2013;63:120–142

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This summary is based on data on the mean blood lead levels in children of various age groups in a number of European countries between 1991 and 2008. It also contains information on the environment and health context and the policy relevance and context, and an assessment of the situation in the WHO European Region. Suggestions for improving the data quality and bio-monitoring are also provided.