EPA recently withdrew its 2020 Interim Approval of glyphosate, often referred to by its trade name Roundup. Interim approvals are part of a conditional registration process used by the Agency to allow new active ingredients to enter the market for an unspecified period of time while the registrant generates missing data required by the Agency for the formal registration process. Although the Interim Approval was revoked, EPA maintains that the chemical is not carcinogenic, and the product will remain on the market as the Agency completes its periodic review as required by law. In its registration review of glyphosate, the Agency will attempt to elaborate on its evaluation of the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate. EPA will also consider whether a better explanation is needed for its findings on other aspects of the human health analysis. EPA expects to complete the review of glyphosate in 2026.
The 2020 Interim Approval was challenged in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Petitioners made two main allegations, first that EPA’s analysis of human health, particularly related to cancer analysis, was faulty. Second, the Agency violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) which requires the weighing of such risks against the benefits of glyphosate and the interim risk mitigation measures.
In June 2022, the Court vacated the human health portion of the glyphosate interim review decision and held that EPA’s registration review decision under FIFRA triggered ESA obligations. It also granted EPA’s request for voluntary remand, without vacatur, of the ecological portion of the interim registration review decision but imposed a deadline for EPA to issue a new ecological potion.
While the EPA has made this withdrawal decision, it is unable to finalize the new ecological portion in a registration review decision as mandated by the Court decision. The Agency states the delay is necessary to appropriately address the issues EPA sought to remedy in the ecological potion and satisfy the ESA requirements. EPA is currently working on a consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Services. Any proposed decisions will require a 60-day comment period and an assessment of comments received. You can read EPA’s full release on its withdrawal decision here.