Sun, 03 Dec 2023

Amid a lack of consensus among European nations over whether to ban the herbicide glyphosate, which has been linked to cancer, the European Commission on Thursday extended its approval for another 10 years.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Bayer's Roundup weedkiller and the most widely used herbicide in the EU.

A "qualified majority" of 15 of the EU's 27 countries, representing at least 65 percent of the population, had been required either to support or block the proposal for its extended use.

Without that majority, the commission made a decision "based on the assessment made by EFSA [European food safety agency] of the impact of glyphosate on the health of humans, animals and the environment, and which did not identify critical areas of concern", it said in a statement.

The World Health Organization's cancer research agency concluded in 2015 that glyphosate was probably carcinogenic to humans, but other agencies around the world, including the European Chemicals Agency and the US Environmental Protection Agency have classified it as non-carcinogenic.

The EU commission said that "based on an assessment of all available information, there is currently no evidence to classify glyphosate as being carcinogenic".

European governments twice voted on the proposal and failed to give a clear opinion.

France, which had once pledged to ban glyphosate but has since backtracked in the face of protests from farmers, abstained from vote because it wanted to limit its use to instances where there is no viable alternative.

The new approval includes a ban on using glyphosate before the harvest as a desiccant to speed up the natural drying process of crops, and also enforces measures to ensure it does not spread to plants it is not intended for.

The commission leaves the door open to revoking the use of glyphosate if scientifically warranted.

Originally published on RFI

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