Across Appalachia

Public Comment Period on Key Ingredient of RoundUp

Date: June 15, 2015

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By Laura Marion

This May, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told Reuters news agency that it has finished a review of the health and environmental impacts of glyphosate — a chemical used in popular herbicides such as RoundUp — and will release a preliminary human health risk assessment this July. After this release, the EPA will take public comments before finalizing the updated regulatory status of the herbicide for the next 15 years.

On March 20, the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization reclassified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic,” changing their 1996 stance that glyphosate was “unlikely to present an acute hazard.” The EPA has classified glyphosate as noncarcinogenic since 1991.

The EPA is also scheduled to update the human health risk assessment for chlorpyrifos, a common insecticide used for agricultural and residential pest control. The public comment period closed this March. Using a model created by Dow Chemical Company, the producer of chlorpyrifos, the EPA identified cause for health concern. Their upcoming decision could change label requirements for the insecticide and require increased safety precautions for agricultural field workers.

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