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EU Regulators Say Weedkiller, Glyphosate, is most likely NOT linked to Cancer

Update Date: Nov 12, 2015 11:43 AM EST

People who use weedkillers that contain glyphosate can breathe easy.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded Thursday that glyphosate is an unlikely cause of cancer. The European Union (EU) regulators, however, still set limits on the amount of glyphosate that people can use safely.

The safety of using glyphosate was brought into question once the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is a part of the United Nations' health agency, the World Health Organization (WHO), stated that the chemical was "probably carcinogenic to humans," Reuters reported.

Environmental groups have subsequently followed the IARC's lead and demand a ban on glyphosate until more evidence concludes that the chemical is safe. The campaign to end the use of glyphosate prompted the ERSA to open an investigation.

"This has been an exhaustive process - a full assessment that has taken into account a wealth of new studies and data," Jose Tarazona, head of the pesticides unit at the EFSA, said. "Regarding carcinogenicity, it is unlikely that this substance is carcinogenic."

The EFSA noted that their investigation was different from the IARC's because they only looked at the effects of glyphosate. The IARC's investigation examined the effects of a group of chemicals, which included glyphosate. Despite concluding that glyphosate is most likely not carcinogenic, the regulators are setting limits. The EFSA recommends a maximum dose of 0.5 milligrams per kilogram (kg) of body weight per day.

The EFSA's latest findings could lead to the renewed approval of the weedkiller in all 28 EU nations.

Glyphosate, which was introduced during the 1970s by Monsanto, can be found in the company's most popular product, Roundup. The chemical can also be found in numerous herbicides worldwide.

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