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Environment

Glyphosate debate heats up in the EU

by Britt E. Erickson
October 16, 2017 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 95, ISSUE 41

Members of the European Parliament heard opposing views on the European Commission’s proposal to reauthorize use of the herbicide glyphosate in the EU for the next 10 years during a joint hearing of the agriculture and environment committees on Oct. 11. The current EU authorization for glyphosate expires in December. At issue is a set of documents revealed in ongoing U.S. lawsuits that suggest Monsanto, which makes the glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup, influenced safety assessments conducted by EU regulators. Plaintiffs in those lawsuits claim that glyphosate exposure led them or family members to develop cancer. Both the European Food Safety Authority and the European Chemicals Agency have declared that use of glyphosate is safe, but the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified the chemical as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” EU member states have yet to reach a consensus for or against the European Commission’s proposal to renew glyphosate’s authorization. Officials were expected to vote on it earlier this month, but they deferred the vote until at least their next meeting on Oct. 23.

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