Brazil health agency concludes safety evaluation of weedkiller glyphosate

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil’s health agency has concluded a re-evaluation of the safety of the weedkiller glyphosate, the most widely-used agriculture chemical in the country, and will present the findings and recommended guidelines for its future use on Tuesday, an official said.

The proposed issuance of new guidelines for glyphosate, which has been under re-evaluation since 2008, indicate that Brazil will likely permit continued use of the herbicide in the country and not issue a blanket ban.

Details of the findings and guidelines will be released when they are presented to the agency’s directors on Tuesday. They would then need to approve the results and advance them to a public consultation phase, Adriana Pottier, risk monitoring and evaluation manager at the health agency Anvisa, told reporters on Monday.

Bayer AG’s Monsanto unit has historically been the largest supplier of glyphosate-based products in Brazil. The companies are facing a global legal backlash alleging that the chemical causes cancer.

Bayer’s share price was rocked last year by a $289 million verdict in a California court holding that its products caused a man’s cancer and that the company failed to warn consumers of the product’s health risk. That jury award was later reduced to $78 million. A second major U.S. jury trial against the company was set to begin on Monday.

Bayer and Monsanto have said that countless studies of glyphosate has shown its use to be safe. Bayer acquired Monsanto last year for $63 billion.

Last year, a Brazilian judge ruled to temporarily suspend the registration of new glyphosate-based products while Anvisa’s decision was pending, but the decision was later struck down.