CHICAGO (Reuters) - A second group of lawmakers is investigating the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its review of glyphosate, questioning why it withdrew a report that said the chemical in the world’s most widely used weed killer was likely not carcinogenic.
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology - which has jurisdiction over environmental and scientific programs - sent a letter to the EPA earlier this month, citing concerns about “the apparent mishandling” of the matter.
The committee questioned whether reasons other than science motivated EPA to pull the report and 13 other related documents off a website it manages, according to the letter, dated May 4.
Earlier this week, the U.S. House of Representative’s agriculture committee sent a similar letter to the EPA, saying it was examining the agency’s review of glyphosate, the chemical in Monsanto Co’s Roundup herbicide, and atrazine, another chemical used in agricultural herbicides.
The agriculture committee also wanted to know what steps still needed to be taken to finalize and issue the glyphosate report, which it had expected in July 2015.
The science committee has seen the withdrawn glyphosate report by the agency’s Cancer Assessment Review Committee (CARC), according to its letter, signed by the chairman, Republican Representative Lamar Smith of Texas.
“EPA’s removal of this report and the subsequent backtracking on its finality raises questions about the agency’s motivation in providing a fair assessment of glyphosate - an assessment based on the scientific analysis conducted by CARC,” the letter states.
EPA initially posted the documents online on April 29. It pulled them on May 2, saying the findings were “preliminary” and the documents published “inadvertently.”
But a memo that was part of the CARC report described it as the committee’s “final Cancer Assessment Document.” Each page of the report also had the word “FINAL” printed on it.
An EPA spokesman told Reuters on Friday the agency has received the science committee’s letter and “will respond as appropriate.”
The science committee told EPA it had until May 18 to send it all documents and communications related to the CARC reports, dating back to Jan. 1, 2015.
“The EPA’s apparent mishandling of this report may shed light on larger systemic problems occurring at the agency,” the letter said.
The 14 withdrawn documents are part of a multi-year EPA registration review of glyphosate and its potential human health and environmental risks.
Reporting By P.J. Huffstutter; Editing by Tom Brown