Genotoxicity Expert Panel review: weight of evidence evaluation of the genotoxicity of glyphosate, glyphosate-based formulations, and aminomethylphosphonic acid
In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) published a monograph concluding there was strong evidence for genotoxicity of glyphosate and glyphosate formulations and moderate evidence for genotoxicity of the metabolite aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA). These conclusions contradicted earlier extensive reviews supporting the lack of genotoxicity of glyphosate and glyphosate formulations. The IARC Monograph concluded there was strong evidence of induction of oxidative stress by glyphosate, glyphosate formulations, and AMPA. The Expert Panel reviewed the genotoxicity and oxidative stress data considered in the IARC Monograph, together with other available data not considered by IARC. The Expert Panel defined and used a weight of evidence (WoE) approach that included ranking of studies and endpoints by the strength of their linkage to events associated with carcinogenic mechanisms. Importantly, the Expert Panel concluded that there was sufficient information available from a very large number of regulatory genotoxicity studies that should have been considered by IARC. The WoE approach, the inclusion of all relevant regulatory studies, and some differences in interpretation of individual studies led to significantly different conclusions by the Expert Panel compared with the IARC Monograph. The Expert Panel concluded that glyphosate, glyphosate formulations, and AMPA do not pose a genotoxic hazard and the data do not support the IARC Monograph genotoxicity evaluation. With respect to carcinogenicity classification and mechanism, the Expert Panel concluded that evidence relating to an oxidative stress mechanism of carcinogenicity was largely unconvincing and that the data profiles were not consistent with the characteristics of genotoxic carcinogens.