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European commission draft law would renew license for glyphosate

| | February 26, 2016

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

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The European commission plans to give a new 15-year lease to a controversial weedkiller that was deemed “probably carcinogenic to humans” by the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

A draft implementing law seen by the Guardian says the commission has decided it is appropriate to renew the licence for glyphosate after a lengthy review, which sparked a scientific storm.

. . . .

The EU’s food watchdog, the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa) ruled in November that the substance was unlikely to be carcinogenic, in a move welcomed by the agricultural industry.

But that advice triggered a backlash, with 96 prominent experts, including almost the whole IARC team, taking the unusual step of calling for the Efsa decision to be disregarded.

The Efsa ruling had relied on six industry-funded and partly unpublished studies and was “not credible because it is not supported by the evidence”, the scientists wrote in a letter (pdf) . . .

Related article:  Roundup ban? Glyphosate-free farming would mean higher food prices

Earlier this week, another 14 scientists signed a consensus statement in the Environmental Health journal, saying regulatory estimates of tolerable exposure levels for glyphosate were based on outdated science.

. . . .

The renewal calls for further studies on the endocrine disrupting potential of glyphosate to be completed before August.

However, environmentalists said the proposal flew in the face of a censure of the commission by the EU ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, earlier this week for accepting proof of a pesticide’s safety after its use had already been authorised.

. . . .

EU national representatives will vote on whether to relicense glyphosate at a meeting in Brussels on 7 March.

Read full, original post: European commission plans to relicense controversial weedkiller

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