European Food Safety Agency Allows Continued Human Exposure to Widely Used Herbicide

WASHINGTON (November 12, 2015) — A decision by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) today sets the stage for the chemical glyphosate to stay on the market and to be used on food crops, despite its probable link to human cancer.

The following is a statement by Jennifer Sass, PhD, a senior scientist with the Health program at Natural Resources Defense Council:

“This food ‘safety’ agency acted with blinders on, relying on a draft supplied to them by an industry task force that included Monsanto. Roundup® is the most widely used weed-killer in the world and now it’s more critical than ever for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to review this chemical quickly—and independently of industry pressure.’’

EFSA concluded that glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer in humans. The European Commission is expected to use the agency’s finding as the basis for its own vote, by June 2016, on whether glyphosate may stay on the market in Europe.

In March, the World Health Organization’s cancer research arm, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), concluded that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans,” citing a link to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Monsanto itself has sponsored animal studies revealing that glyphosate causes kidney cancers. Another body, the Joint FAO-WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR), is currently reviewing the allowable level of glyphosate on food.

The EPA has approved glyphosate for decades, and is scheduled to complete its current review by the end of this year.

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