`Glyphosate Controversy Continues as New Report Concludes Herbicide Is Not Carcinogenic - Olive Oil Times

Glyphosate Controversy Continues as New Report Concludes Herbicide Is Not Carcinogenic

Aug. 24, 2021
Ephantus Mukundi

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A recent draft report sub­mit­ted to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) con­cluded that glyphosate is not car­cino­genic. The find­ings have caused a lot of dis­com­fort among health and envi­ron­men­tal cam­paign­ers.

Glyphosate can­not be clas­si­fied as a car­cino­gen,” the Assessment Group of Glyphosate (AGG), which authored the report on behalf of the European Commission, said. The drug can cause seri­ous eye dam­age, but it is not car­cino­genic, has no effect on the sex cells and does not affect repro­duc­tion.”

This new sci­en­tific analy­sis shows yet again that the European Union’s claim to hav­ing the most rig­or­ous pes­ti­cide autho­riza­tion pro­ce­dure in the world has to be taken with a heavy grain of salt.- Angeliki Lyssimachou, envi­ron­men­tal sci­en­tist, Health and Environment Alliance

The find­ings came in the wake of intense lob­by­ing from man­u­fac­tur­ers of glyphosate-based her­bi­cides, includ­ing Bayer, to extend the use of glyphosate beyond 2022 in the European Union.

See Also: Europe Sets New Limits on Cadmium in Fruits and Vegetables

Glyphosate is one of the most widely used her­bi­cides glob­ally and was labeled by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as prob­a­bly car­cino­genic to humans” in 2015. This led to some European coun­tries ban­ning the her­bi­cide.

The IARC’s find­ings agreed with pre­vi­ous health and envi­ron­men­tal experts’ analy­sis, which said that glyphosate posed sig­nif­i­cant health risks, includ­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of caus­ing can­cer. This has been the sub­ject of numer­ous law­suits that Monsanto, which Bayer pur­chased in 2018, has fought since 2016.

Following the ban, Monsanto denied the glyphosate-can­cer link and lob­bied for a 15-year renewal. Finally, after two years of scan­dals and con­tro­versy, the her­bi­cide was granted a re-approval by the E.U., but only for five years. However, many envi­ron­men­tal­ists and farm­ers’ orga­ni­za­tions crit­i­cized the deci­sion.

Confronted by the E.U.’s per­mit for glyphosate expir­ing in 2022, a con­sor­tium of eight glyphosate man­u­fac­tur­ers – com­monly known as Glyphosate Renewal Group – sub­mit­ted a request in 2019 to approve a renewal.

In response, four mem­ber states (Hungary, Sweden, France and the Netherlands) were appointed by the European Commission to look into the request for the renewal of approval. The four states formed the AGG.

After eval­u­at­ing the dossier pre­sented by the glyphosate man­u­fac­tur­ers, the AGG held that there was insuf­fi­cient evi­dence to demon­strate chronic or acute con­sumer risk when crops are treated with glyphosate as long as it was used accord­ing to the manufacturer’s instruc­tions.

The AGG added that the her­bi­cide does not cause can­cer. However, they main­tained that glyphosate is toxic to aquatic life, as pre­vi­ous stud­ies have indi­cated.

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Roundup is a brand of herbicide containing glyphosate made by Monsanto.

On June 15, 2021, the AGG sub­mit­ted its find­ings to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Chemical Agency (ECHA). EFSA and ECHA will now begin the peer-review process before either approv­ing or deny­ing the renewal. Both agen­cies are expected to invite the pub­lic to voice their opin­ions on the mat­ter in September 2021.

The GRG cel­e­brated the new find­ings say­ing these con­clu­sions were in line with other lead­ing agen­cies world­wide, includ­ing the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States.

However, health orga­ni­za­tions and civil soci­eties are out­raged, argu­ing that the infor­ma­tion relied upon by the AGG is biased as it is based on glyphosate man­u­fac­tur­ers’ stud­ies.

This new sci­en­tific analy­sis shows yet again that the European Union’s claim to hav­ing the most rig­or­ous pes­ti­cide autho­riza­tion pro­ce­dure in the world has to be taken with a heavy grain of salt,” said Angeliki Lyssimachou, an envi­ron­men­tal sci­en­tist at the Health and Environment Alliance, a non-profit.

The autho­riza­tion pro­ce­dure in place is evi­dently not rig­or­ous enough to detect errors in the exe­cu­tion of the reg­u­la­tory stud­ies that are blindly con­sid­ered the gold stan­dard,” she added. Yet these were at the heart of the 2017 EU-mar­ket approval of glyphosate, and they have now been sub­mit­ted again in an effort to water down sci­en­tific evi­dence that glyphosate may cause can­cer and is a dan­ger to human health.”





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