The Counter: We’re asking the wrong questions about glyphosate

Image: Robert Burns / Texas A&M Agrilife

Is glyphosate benign, does it pose some kind of clear and present threat, or is the truth somewhere in between? That’s where things get complicated. In theory, scientific research should be able to provide a sober, objective assessment of the risks. But the intensity of the debate has made it very difficult to sort out science from personal bias and industry spin.

When each concerned faction accuses the other of distorting the facts, and even independent organizations and regulatory bodies have struggled to stay above the fray, it can be hard to know what to believe. The result is that, while glyphosate everywhere in the global food system, there’s little consensus about what that actually means for human health. And so the question isn’t just whether or not the world’s most popular herbicide is safe. It’s also about how we determine what “safe” is in the first place, and who gets to decide.