ECHA, the European Chemicals Agency, has released findings from its Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) which concluded that glyphosate (e.g. Roundup, by the agriculture company Monsanto, though it's been off-patent for 17 years) is not a carcinogen, nor is it a mutagen, nor is it toxic for reproduction.

How could they be so different from the United Nations International Agency for Research on Cancer, which declared that glyphosate was hazardous? It's only speculation but it may be that other science bodies lack an environmental activist choosing the composition of their working groups, which IARC allowed despite the obvious conflict of interest.

The IARC results remain an anomaly in defiance of the U.S. EPA, the European Food Safety Authority, Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency and the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The United Nations/World Health Organization even distanced themselves from the results of their own child organization.

The timing is bad for environmental activists and lawyers hoping for an easy payday from Monsanto. Current litigation efforts are based on solely on the IARC classification of glyphosate as a 2A carcinogen – "probably carcinogenic to human beings." ECHA’s finding that glyphosate is not a carcinogen, added to the weight of evidence from virtually every legitimate science body, throws further doubt on IARC’s process and conclusion. However, the New York Times seems to be engaging in a vendetta against the company and printed another piece against them today. So clearly Natural Resources Defense Council gets its money's worth financing full-page ads in there.

IARC has taken to defending itself by reminding people that they do not consider exposure, so therefore risk cannot be calculated. But their media talking points include "risk" three dozen times. And when they write media kits for journalists they neglect to include that their hazard classification covers 5 order of magnitude. So if you need 10,000 doses of something to cause harm, to IARC 1 dose is just as bad.

That doesn't mean glyphosate is completely without risk. Just like it says on the package, don't get it in your eye.