Abstract. Glyphosate, is an herbicide that was introduced by Monsanto under the trade name Roundup in 1974 and in the last decade became the most widely used agricultural pesticide worldwide. It allows farmers to kill weeds but not the crops that will grow there. Glyphosate comes in many forms, including an acid and several salts. There are over 750 products containing glyphosate for sale. It is registered in 130 countries and has been approved for weed control in more than 100 crops. Glyphosate has excellent environmental features such as rapid soil binding, biodegradation and extremely low toxicity to mammals, birds and fish. The most important aspect of pesticide safety is the adverse health effects to farmers and people working and living in agricultural areas. Many epidemiological studies in the last years and various toxicological data were accumulated for glyphosate but the majority found no correlation with any kind of cancer or adverse health effects. Glyphosate had over the years many environmental critics. There were many claims that glyphosate was linked to increase risk for autism, cancer, gluten allergies, ‘leaky gut’ syndrome and other disorders. Concerns about glyphosate’s possible health impacts increased in 2015 after the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a research arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic,” (Group 2A) using what is called a hazard evaluation. The IARC classification was widely circulated by anti-chemical and environmental advocacy groups, which argued for bans or tighter restrictions of the herbicide. In the last decade experimental and epidemiological evidence was accumulated that glyphosate has no significant toxicity in acute, subchronic, and chronic studies. The genotoxicity and carcinogenicity studies for glyphosate and its commercial products (Roundup) were assessed. There was no convincing evidence for direct DNA damage in vitro or in vivo, and it was concluded that Roundup and its components do not pose a risk for various types of cancer in humans. So, the decision of IARC in 2015 to classify as Group 2A carcinogen came as a big surprise, at the time that a big epidemiological study in the USA (published finally in 2018) with farmers established that there was no risk for development of cancer after long-time exposure to glyphosate. This review presents the most important studies, the dispute among scientists on the IARC decision for the carcinogenicity. Also, an assessment for the differences among toxicologists and other evaluators and regulators for glyphosate adverse health effects and environmental risks.
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