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EU: glyphosate authorisation fails again

by Editor (comments: 1)

For the third time the EU Commission's proposal to extend the authorisation of the herbicide glyphosate did not gain a qualified majority. It now seems likely that the Commission will itself implement its last proposal to extend the existing authorisation once again up to the end of 2017. By then the European Chemical Agency ECHA will present its glypgosate report.

As the Portal EurActiv reported, in the specialist EU committee 20 countries voted in favour of the Commission's proposal, seven abstained and one counrtry voted against. A qualified majority at EU level is reached when 55 % of member states that at the same time represent 65 % of the population vote for a proposal. According to reports in the media, the countries that abstained were Germany, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Austria and Portugal. Malta voted against the proposal. This meant that the population quorum was not reached. The EU Commission can now submit its proposal to the so-called appeals committee and – if there is still no majority – take the decision itself. Otherwise the EU-wide authorisation of glyphosate would expire at the end of June. Retailers would then have until the  end of of the year to sell their stock. Farmers would be allowed to use the herbicide until the end of 2017.

But it will not come to this. The Green member of the European Parliament, Martin Häusling, thinks the most likely outsome will be the EU Commission taking the unplanned step of extending current authorisation by 18 months, with or without the agreement of the member states. Its justification for this action will most probably be that by then a report by the European Chemicals Agency ECHA on the categorisation of glyphosate, that could influence the decision on the renewal of authorisation, will be available.

This would usher in the next round in the argument about the studies that have been carried out, because the first draft of the ECHA report is already available. It was produced by the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. This institute simply  proposes the additional warning H373: “Can damage organs in the case of long or repeated exposure (being breathed in for long periods or repeatedly/ contact with the skin/ swallowing).“ The Federal Institute states in detail the reason why the warning H351: “Probably causes cancer“ is not taken into account. This is not surprising since the Federal Institute for Occupational Saftey and Health refers expressly to the categorisation of the studies by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. ”All toxicological studies included in this CLH dossier were evaluated and assessed by in-house staff toxicologists of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment.” ECHA has already begun public consultation. Comments can be submitted up to 18 July.


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Comment by Donald Sutherland |

The current license for glyphosate is based on the risk assessment of the herbicide by EFSA and the ECHA and was viewed as safe as table salt. Post the March 2015 World Health Organization IARC's risk assessment of glyphosate and its products as a probable carcinogenic health risk the European Commission is caught in the farce of pesticide clinical risk assessment by the EFSA. The current residue tolerance levels (MRLs) for glyphosate on the food Europeans eat has never been enforced and is not based on clinical aggregate risk assessment (acute and chronic) of food but made up models used by the EFSA and ECHA. In the US it is the same farce on consumers. Please see my report:
http://www.longlifefarm.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Is-Glyphosate-Legal.pdf



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