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NGOs warn European Regulators: Scientists expect increased cases of cancer if glyphosate would be re-authorised

Open Letter from 39 European organisation raises questions about legal consequences of re-authorising glyphosate

12 May 2016, Brussels - Today the Health and Environment Alliance sent an open letter together with 38 other European health and environmental organisations, to urge the decision-makers of the 28 EU Member States to vote against the reauthorisation of the active pesticide ingredient glyphosate. The vote will take place on the 18th or 19th of May 2016 during the meeting of the “Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed” of the European Commission.

Despite the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)’s recent classification of glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen the European Commission recommends re-authotisation of glyphosate for another 9 years.

“This letter is directed to all government representatives of each EU Member State, who will vote in Brussels on the reauthorisation or ban of glyphosate in Europe and all the ministries involved", says Lisette van Vliet, Senior Policy Adviser at HEAL: "We aim to point out once again the expected health and legal consequences in case of a reauthorisation of glyphosate to the decision-makers before they vote."
The view of the aforementioned environmental organisations is supported by notable scientists; German epidemiologist Prof. Eberhard Greiser of the University Bremen, presents a “meta analysis“ about the correlation between exposure to glyphosate and the abundance of cancer incidences of ’Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma’ at a press conference in Vienna today. “A summary of all so far released epidemiological studies within the framework of a so called meta-analysis show an increased risk of desease by 45 percent for people working with glyphosate – in comparision to people without any contact with Glyphosate.”, Greiser states. “Therefore, in case of the reauthorisation of glyphosate, thousands of new diseases of this malignant lymphoma, which is mortal in 50 percent of the cases, are to be expected in the EU.”, he continued.

“Pesticides, which cause cancer in animal studies shall not be authorised by European law”, says the lawyer Dr. Josef Unterweger. “But the German Federal Institute of Risk Assessment, which carried out the risk assessment of glyphosate on behalf of the EU, claims that there is no information on carcinogenic effects on a experimental nimals. In addition, the president of this authority compares the lethal dose of glyphosate with the one of table salt, even though the WHO classified glyphosate as ’probably carcinogenic to humans’. Since 1996 this comparison to table salt, originally made by Monsanto, has been shown to be misleading and in fact the US Ministry of Justice told Monsanto that if it continues using this comparison it will be breaking the law.

By reauthorizing glyphosate, Europe would be putting its 500 million EU people at risk of cancer. In this case the EU could potentially face legal prosecutions from those that have been exposed to glyphosate through its use in agriculture and in other areas. Is it really worth the possibility of millions of lawsuits to reauthorise glyphosate because the pesticide industry is concerned about losing profits from its sale?

Open letter to Ministers of Agriculture, Environment, Health and Food Safety of 28 EU Member States and Members of the Standing Committee on Plants, Animal, Food and Feed of the European Commission regarding how the renewal of the authorisation of glyphosate violates the European Regulation (EC) No. 1107/2009 on pesticides.

Originally posted on 13 May 2016

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The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »


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