Weed killer ingredient glyphosate is unlikely to pose cancer risks to humans, a new report from the United Nations (UN) has found.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a report on May 16 refuting numerous studies over the past years by saying that even if exposure to the chemical may lead to hazardous effects, consuming it via oral route is unlikely to cause cancer.

All About Glyphosate

Glyphosate is a herbicide that can work in a wide range of different unwanted weeds. In the past, studies investigated the relationship of cancer outcomes among people whose occupation involves glyphosate exposures. The review of these studies mainly focused on a type of cancer called non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL).

In general, there has been proof pointing to the relationship between NHL risk and glyphosate exposure. These outcomes were questioned, however, after the large cohort high-quality study discovered no evidence of a link.

Setting The Record Straight

In the new UN report, the available evidence indicated that administering the chemical and associated products at doses of 2,000 milligrams per kilogram of body weight (or higher) was not linked with toxic impacts in many studies involving animals. The administration of glyphosate evaluated was via the oral route, which is the most applicable route for human consumption.

The animal study is a model considered to be appropriate in looking for the genotoxic effects of the chemical to humans. Specifically, the studies center on rats and mice. According to review of results, the authors concluded that glyphosate does not cause cancer in rats. However, this does not strip the fact that the chemical may still be carcinogenic in high doses.

By combining evidences of chemical exposure, lack of glyphosate's cancer-causing potential in rodents at human-relevant amounts, and absence of toxicity via oral route in humans, the report concluded that the chemical is unlikely to pose cancer risks to humans who have been exposed via dietary means.

"The Meeting concluded that glyphosate is unlikely to be genotoxic at anticipated dietary exposures," the authors write [PDF].

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