National Farmers’ Federation President Fiona Simson said trust must be put in the regulator and the overwhelming, established science, in any legal matters considering the impacts of the use of chemicals including glyphosate.
Ms Simson said the independent, expert scientific advice from the regulator, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) confirmed that glyphosate, the active ingredient in products such as Roundup, was safe to use.
“The same conclusion has been made by every regulator in world. No other chemical compound has been studied to the degree that glyphosate has,” Ms Simson said.
“There is an extensive, international body of scientific work – spanning 40 years and 800 studies that affirms that glyphosate is not a cariogenic, and more precisely, that it does not cause Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.”
“We simply have to base judgments on science and evidence and trust the regulator.”
Ms Simson said many Australian farmers relied on safe tools such as glyphosate to produce healthy food and fibre, to control weeds, promote biodiversity and to nurture soil and water health.
“The NFF scrutinises the potential risks to farmers of any tool in the farm production cycle – whether it be it quad bikes, tractors or chemical tools such as glyphosate.
“There is not a more important priority for the NFF than the health and well-being of our farmers, their employees and the broader community.
“As farmers we understand the concerns, we appreciate the questions, we have asked them ourselves, but we remain confident in the science and the ability of the regulator to make informed decisions based on facts.
“For many years, the NFF has put the safety of glyphosate under scrutiny and we are more than satisfied with the scientific rigour confirming its continued application.”
This scientific rigour includes the National Cancer Institute-supported 2018 Agricultural Health Study. The study followed more than 50,000 farmers who used glyphosate for more than 20 years. The work found no association between glyphosate-based herbicides and cancer.
In 2017, the United States’ Environment Protection Authority’s cancer risk assessment examined more than 100 studies and concluded glyphosate was ‘not likely to be carcinogenic to humans,’ – it’s most favourable rating.
Ms Simson said the NFF was committed to sharing the facts about glyphosate, including its proven safety for human use.
“We understand that, although not based on objective evidence, some Australians have concerns about the popular herbicide.
“As the peak body representing farmers, for which glyphosate is an indispensable tool, it is the NFF’s role to have a conversation with the community about these concerns and to provide the objective-science based facts that confirm the safety of glyphosate.
“Farmers take very seriously their responsibility of producing safe food and fibre for the world. We want to have an open and clear dialogue with the community that puts at ease any concerns about how farmers grow what they grow.”
Despite, recent disappointing legal decisions in the United States, Ms Simson said she had every confidence that, when considering the impact of glyphosate on human health, Australian courts and indeed those in other global jurisdictions would see that science prevailed.
“The evidence is just too clear and too compelling for any other outcome,” Ms Simson said.