EU: Member states agree on five-year renewal period for glyphosate despite warnings of negative health effects

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Article
28 November 2017

EU will formally renew glyphosate on 12 December

Author: Caterina Tani, EU Observer

The European Commission will formalise on 12 December Monday's decision by member states to renew for five years the licence for the herbicide glyphosate. The decision by EU countries, agreed after 18 months of debate, will then enter into force. The EU executive will also reply to Europeans who asked for a ban of the weedkiller glyphosate, used in Monsanto's Roundup, and more generally "examine the options on how to clarify and optimise the rules applicable on scientific studies" - which were the basis of assessment about herbicide safety for human health, a Commission spokeswoman said on Tuesday (28 November)... Media reports, including by EUobserver and Dutch magazine OneWorld, have shown that Efsa conclusions on the safety of glyphosate were partially based on scientific evidence provided by Monsanto, Roundup's manufacturer. On 19 October, also the European Parliament expressed doubts over the scientific evaluations of glyphosate carried out by the European agencies.  

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Article
27 November 2017

EU settles dispute over major weedkiller glyphosate

Author: BBC

EU countries have voted to renew the licence of glyphosate, a widely used weedkiller at the centre of environmental concerns. The proposal at the EU Commission's Appeal Committee got 18 votes in favour and nine against, with one abstention, ending months of deadlock. The Commission says the new five-year licence will be ready before the current one expires on 15 December... Glyphosate is marketed as Roundup by the US agrochemical giant Monsanto. One UN study called the chemical "probably carcinogenic", but other scientists said it was safe to use.

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Article
27 November 2017

EU: Controversial glyphosate weedkiller wins new five-year lease

Author: Arthur Neslen, The Guardian (UK)

Glyphosate, the key ingredient in the world’s bestselling weedkiller, has won a new five-year lease in Europe, closing the most bitterly fought pesticide relicensing battle of recent times... [A]n EU appeal committee voted on Monday to reauthorise the substance despitea petition by 1.3 million EU citizens last week calling for a ban. In 2015, the World Health Organisation’s cancer agency, the IARC, famously declared glyphosate “probably carcinogenic to humans,” although several international agencies, including Efsa, subsequently came to opposite conclusions. Monsanto insists glyphosate is safe... The row over glyphosate has raised questions over modern farming techniques, regulatory capture and scientific independence, as well as the safety of ubiquitous pesticides. Traces of glyphosate are routinely found in tests of foodstuffs, water, topsoil, and human urine in amounts way above safe limits set by regulators. Ben & Jerry’s recently introduced a new line of organic ice cream, in a bid to sate public concern... Monsanto argues that, as a no-till system, glyphosate lowers carbon emissions and protects soil quality. 

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Article
27 November 2017

German vote swings EU decision on 5-year glyphosate renewal

Author: Caterina Tani, EU Observer

EU member states agreed on Monday (27 November) on a five-year renewal period for the controversial herbicide glyphosate, used by Monsanto in its Roundup product... Germany's vote in favour of the proposal helped to reach a vote representing 65.71 percent of the EU population, just above the 65 percent threshold needed under the qualified majority rule... Germany's decision to support the renewal created waves in Berlin with the outgoing coalition government. The environment minister, Social Democrat Barbara Hendricks, said she had called her agriculture colleague, the Christian Democrat Christian Schmidt, in the morning to tell him that she "still did not agree" with the renewal. "You cannot behave like this when you try to build trust," she said after the Brussels vote, referring to the talks that are due to start soon to form a new coalition between the CDU and Christian Social Union, with the SPD... NGOs and environmental protection associations unanimously condemned member states' decision.

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Article
21 November 2017

Petition calls on EU to ban glyphosate over health & environmental concerns

Author: Caterina Tani, EU Observer

A ban on the herbicide glyphosate, sold commercially by Monsanto as Roundup - along with more transparent scientific evaluations of pesticides and a overall reduction in their use - should be an EU priority, citizens said on Monday (20 November) at the European Parliament. The petition was part of a initiative signed by over 1.3 million Europeans ahead of the final vote (27 November) by EU member states on a five-year renewal of the glyphosate licence, due to expire on 15 December... The request to ban glyphosate, citizens say in the petition, is because the herbicide is "a serious threat to human health" and "its negative impacts on the environment and biodiversity are clearly documented"... The [...] petition [...] highlights the lack of transparency of EU scientific evaluation procedures for pesticides... The [...] final proposal of the citizens' initiative concerns an EU-wide mandatory reduction target for the use of pesticides.

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Article
14 November 2017

EU: Parliament postpones controversial vote due to lack of consensus on cancer concerns re glyphosate license

Author: Caterina Tani, EU Observer

"EU fails again to agree glyphosate renewal", 9 November 2017

EU member states [...] again failed to agree on a licence renewal period for the controversial herbicide glyphosate, used in the Monsanto produce Roundup among other produces, despite an 18-month long debate. Ministers in the standing committee on plant animal food and feed in Brussels were not able to reach the qualified majority necessary and the meeting resulted in a "no opinion" outcome... In order to try to break the deadlock caused by Thursday's rejection of its proposal, the Commission announced that a further attempt will be taken within the appeal committee for food safety before 22 November... If no decision decision is taken, the Commission will have the power to adopt its own proposal without the backing of European governments... The license for glyphosate will expire on 15 December. Even though two EU agencies have said glyphosate is safe, some NGO and environmental activists strongly objects, as the World Health Organisation's International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans". 

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Article
6 November 2017

UN Special Rapporteur on Toxic Wastes warns EU of negative effects of glyphosates on children's health

Author: Baskut Tuncak for The Guardian

...Two weeks ago, some European countries blocked the attempt to give glyphosate a new 10-year licence. This decision is about much more than one pesticide. It’s a welcome sign that EU member states might be more vigilant in performing their duty to protect against corporate abuses of our human rights from exposure to toxic chemicals, including pesticides. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most ratified international human rights treaty in the world (only the US is not a party), makes it clear that states have an explicit obligation to protect children from exposure to toxic chemicals, from contaminated food and polluted water, and to ensure that every child can realise their right to the highest attainable standard of health. These and many other rights of the child are abused by the current pesticide regime...

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