EPA Confirms Glyphosate Decision

EPA Finalizes Interim Registration Decision on Glyphosate

Emily Unglesbee
By  Emily Unglesbee , DTN Staff Reporter
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The EPA finalized an interim registration decision affirming that glyphosate is safe, while the agency continues work on the chemical's overall registration review, expected to wrap up in 2021. (DTN photo by Jim Patrico)

ROCKVILLE, Md. (DTN) -- EPA has finalized its interim registration decision on glyphosate, once again stating the herbicide poses no risk to human health and can be used safely with certain drift mitigation requirements.

The agency first proposed this interim decision in April of 2019 and accepted public comments until the following September. Now it has analyzed and responded to those comments and finalized the decision.

"After a thorough review of the best available science, as required under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, EPA has concluded that there are no risks of concern to human health when glyphosate is used according to the label and that it is not a carcinogen," the agency's news release stated.

However, glyphosate is not clear of all regulatory scrutiny just yet. The herbicide's overarching registration review, which started in 2009, will likely push on into 2021, according to EPA's website.

"EPA anticipates completing a draft biological evaluation for glyphosate by fall 2020 for public comment," the website states. "Final endangered species determinations are anticipated in 2021."

In the meantime, the interim decision brings some regulatory clarity to American farmers and chemical companies, amid a storm of global scrutiny of the chemical and a steady march of lawsuits against the herbicide Roundup and its registrant, Bayer.

EPA's interim decision lays out some new label requirements aimed at reducing the risk of glyphosate drifting off target during applications. They include a ban on spraying during temperature inversions, new wind speed limits, nozzle recommendations and boom length and height requirements for aerial and ground applications.

The interim decision also requires the label addition of this advisory on the risks to off-target organisms: "This product is toxic to plants and may adversely impact the forage and habitat of non-target organisms, including pollinators, in or adjacent to the treated site. Protect the forage and habitat of non-target organisms by following label directions intended to minimize spray drift."

The EPA is also requiring all labels of glyphosate products both old and new to use updated and consistent application parameters, environmental hazards statement for aquatic use, rotational crop timing limits and marketing statements.

The interim decision also reiterates new herbicide resistance mitigation and education measures for registrants and herbicide labels from an EPA guidance issued in 2017.

The interim decision also establishes new glyphosate tolerances for some fruits and vegetables and eliminates some older tolerances.

You can see more details in the interim registration decision here: https://www.epa.gov/….

See the EPA's website on glyphosate and its registration review here: https://www.epa.gov/….

Emily Unglesbee can be reached at Emily.unglesbee@dtn.com

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Emily Unglesbee