Today, Bart Staes, Greens/EFA MEP and co-rapporteur for the PEST Committee on the EU pesticide authorisation procedure, together with colleagues from other groups, present damning new evidence on the chemical industry's involvement in the procedure for renewing the authorisation of the dangerous substance glyphosate.
At the MEPs' request, experts Stefan Weber and Helmut Burtscher-Schaden detail the extent of plagiarism by the German agency Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) concerning the evaluation of the glyphosate renewal application submitted by manufacturers, including Monsanto. Germany, which was appointed EU Rapporteur State for the Evaluation seven years ago, through the BfR, has been in breach of EU law that requires the independence and objectivity of such evaluations.
Statement by Bart Staes, co-rapporteur for the PEST Committee:
"Public health must not be put at risk just so the chemical industry can turn a profit. It is extremely worrying to see that up to 50% of some chapters of the German regulator's assessment were actually written by Monsanto. Through this unacceptable practice by BfR independent scientific studies showing cancerogenic effects were brushed off and not taken into account and assessments warning of the dangers of glyphosate were missing all together.
"Just as tobacco companies can no longer talk about the health benefits of smoking, the chemical industry shouldn't be able to write its own authorisation for its own potentially harmful products. Today's findings amplifies the recommendations of the PEST report, which will be voted on tomorrow, for greater transparency and independent scrutiny around the authorisation procedure for potentially harmful chemicals.
"Any regulator that just copy and pastes industry funded studies, without always clearly referencing source material, when approving the same industry's products might as well just be a marketing department. The independence of public assessments of substances the chemical industry wishes to market is a pre-requisite for fair and safe decisions to be taken. The European Commission and EU Member States must ensure that regulators are properly independent and scientific".