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Glyphosate, the world’s most widely used herbicide and a major ingredient in products from Monsanto, BASF Corp., DuPont and others, could be reauthorized in the European Union through 2027, the European Commission said May 17.
Glyphosate—which Monsanto uses in its popular pesticide Roundup—is currently authorized in the bloc through the end of 2017 under a short-term extension to its original authorization, which expired in mid-2016. The extension was allowed so that an assessment of the carcinogenicity of glyphosate could be carried out.
The European Chemicals Agency concluded that assessment in March, finding that glyphosate should not be classified as carcinogenic. The agency’s conclusion opened the way for a longer-term reauthorization of glyphosate.
The commission will discuss with EU member nations the prospect of a 10-year reauthorization, Anca Paduraru, spokeswoman for the commission, the EU’s executive arm, told Bloomberg BNA May 17. Under EU rules, the commission would propose the reauthorization, which would require the approval of a regulatory committee of EU country representatives.
The commission has not yet formally proposed the 10-year reauthorization, Paduraru said.
If approved, the reauthorization would start from the end of 2017 when the current authorization expires, or from the date of adoption of an approval decision, if earlier, Paduraru said.
The commission’s suggestion that glyphosate should be reauthorized for 10 years pleased neither pesticides manufacturers nor lawmakers whose views align with environmental advocates.
The reauthorization in the EU of glyphosate was held up after the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer declared it “probably carcinogenic” in 2015. The European Chemicals Agency’s assessment, and a separate assessment in 2015 by the European Food Safety Authority, contradicted the international agency’s finding.
Despite the EU agencies’ findings, “there are credible concerns regarding the safety of glyphosate,” Bart Staes, a Belgian Green member of the European Parliament, told Bloomberg BNA in a statement.
The European Commission should promote “sustainable alternatives” rather than reauthorizing glyphosate, Staes said.
Graeme Taylor, director of public affairs for the European Crop Protection Association, which represents pesticides manufacturers, said the EU reauthorization of glyphosate had been held up by “the Facebook science of NGOs and activists.”
Prior to the mid-2016 expiration of the original authorization of glyphosate, the commission proposed a 15-year reauthorization period, and the new proposal of a 10-year reauthorization was “shortsighted,” Taylor said.
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A European Chemicals Agency website on glyphosate is available at http://bit.ly/2hJlO0b.
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