EUROPE- Tensions are escalating between environmental advocacy groups and regulatory bodies over the controversial glyphosate, usually found in weedkillers, as the European Commission (EC) gears up for the critical vote on its reauthorization scheduled for October 12 and 13.
The pan-European Pesticide Action Network (PAN) and global advocacy group Ekō continue their relentless campaign against glyphosate, challenging the EC’s and Glyphosate Renewal Group’s (GRG) assertions that glyphosate does not pose a threat to human health or the environment.
The environmental groups argue that glyphosate adversely affects the nutritional value of crops, consumer well-being, and the environment. In response, the EC defends its position, proposing the renewal of glyphosate approval under what it deems “strict conditions.”
Eoin Dubsky, on behalf of Ekō, tells us that he disagrees with the assertion made in the EC comment.
“The EC’s proposal entails the renewal of glyphosate approval for ten years, with hardly any restrictions to minimize its use included in the text. The only exception is pre-harvest desiccation, which is already restricted in certain member states.”
In the midst of the debate, conflicting scientific data about glyphosate’s toxicity to humans, crops, and the environment further complicates the matter. The EC and GRG contend that their stance is backed by robust scientific research and stress their commitment to upholding the highest scientific standards and compliance with EU law.
However, critics like Tjerk Dalhuisen from PAN Europe argue that regulatory bodies often rely heavily on industry-funded studies, undermining the importance of independent research.
Dalhuisen criticizes this reliance on industry studies and points to the conclusions drawn by fully independent scientific bodies, such as the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer and the French National Health Institute INSERM, which highlight numerous problems with glyphosate.
As the decisive vote approaches, EU member states are poised to weigh in on glyphosate reauthorization during the upcoming Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food, and Feed (SCoPAFF) meeting.
If the EC’s proposal fails to secure the necessary support, a second vote may follow in the appeal committee.
Advocacy groups like Ekō continue to rally against glyphosate, emphasizing public sentiment and demanding a ban on the widely used herbicide. They underscore the importance of transitioning to pesticide-free grain and cereal production to protect biodiversity, climate, and soil quality.
The outcome of the vote remains uncertain, reflecting the complex interplay of scientific evidence, public opinion, and regulatory decision-making regarding glyphosate reauthorization in the European Union.