EUROPE – The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has in its peer review of the risk assessment of the active substance glyphosate, commonly used in herbicides concluded that there are no critical areas of concern that would prevent the approval or renewal of glyphosate for its proposed uses.

Glyphosate, an active substance found in various herbicide products, is subject to strict regulation in Europe. Its current approval for use in the EU is valid until December 15, 2023. 

The risk assessment conducted by the Member States and the subsequent peer review by EFSA form part of the legal process for renewing glyphosate’s approval. 

The outcome of the assessment will inform the decision on whether glyphosate will remain on the EU list of approved pesticide-active substances.

The assessment focused on the potential risks to humans, animals, and the environment. 

It incorporated data from the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), which determined that glyphosate does not meet the scientific criteria for classification as a carcinogenic, mutagenic, or reprotoxic substance.

EFSA’s peer review process involved extensive evaluation of thousands of studies and scientific articles spanning over three years. 

The assessment covered various aspects, including human health, environmental impact, and biodiversity. 

While no critical concerns were identified, the review did highlight specific issues that require further attention, such as the assessment of certain impurities in glyphosate and the evaluation of risks to aquatic plants.

Data gaps and outstanding issues

EFSA’s conclusions outlined data gaps and outstanding issues that need to be addressed. 

These include the assessment of the toxicity of a component present in a specific glyphosate-based pesticide formulation, as well as the lack of harmonized methodologies and agreed protection goals regarding the impact on biodiversity. 

The risk assessment approach revealed a high long-term risk to mammals in 12 out of 23 proposed uses of glyphosate, emphasizing the need for mitigation measures.

EFSA emphasized the transparency of its risk assessment process, involving the collaboration of numerous scientists from EFSA and Member States. 

The conclusions of the peer review have been shared with the European Commission and Member States for their consideration in the decision-making process regarding glyphosate’s approval. 

EFSA will publish its conclusions and all related background documents once personal data protection and confidentiality rules are ensured. 

The publication of conclusions is expected by the end of July 2023, followed by the release of background documents between the end of August and the middle of October 2023.

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