The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has today published its opinion on the toxicity of glyphosate. They have stated that the substance is not carcinogenic, the same opinion expressed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Both positions contradict the assessment of the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), who state that the herbicide is “probably carcinogenic”.
The Greens/EFA group has been campaigning against glyphosate as it represents a range of threats to human, animal and plant health. Today's decision comes one year to the day since a group of Greens/EFA MEPs submitted an access to documents request to EFSA, in order to make the industry studies used in their assessment public and subject to independent scientific scrutiny. The MEPs have to date only received a partial reply, with the studies heavily redacted.
Commenting on the decision, Green Food Safety spokesperson Bart Staes said:
“There are a range of reasons as to why glyphosate is at odds with a healthy and sustainable agriculture. Glyphosate doesn't just target the weeds it is supposed to kill, but also harms surrounding plant life and animals, making it a real threat to biodiversity. The side effects of over-use are already being felt, with glyphosate resistant "super weeds" appearing in North America, risking a destructive cycle of ever more toxic pesticides.
"Ultimately, when there are so many practical alternatives available, it makes no sense to accept the wide range of risks associated with glyphosate. We will continue to make the case that there are safer options which would be better for the public, for animals, and for our environment.”
Greens/EFA transparency spokesperson Benedek Jávor added:
“Today’s decision demonstrates again why we need greater transparency on the studies used to judge glyphosate’s safety. Again we see a contradiction between the opinion of an EU agency and that of the World Health Organisation’s cancer research agency. This controversy will continue, and citizens will continue to have understandable doubts regarding the safety of glyphosate, until the studies used are made public.”