European Commission refuses access to glyphosate assessment

The European Commission has refused to make available the risk assessment report on glyphosate prepared for the European Food Safety Authority. Glyphosate is the world’s most widely used herbicide and the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup. The risk assessment will determine glyphosate’s renewed authorisation in the European Union.

The pesticide lobby is pressing Europe to follow the United States in increasing allowable glyphosate exposure levels. In a letter to the German NGO Testbiotech last month, the Commission stated that the report is confidential and there is “no overriding public interest” in making it accessible.

However, a report earlier this year from the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” – described by global food and farming union federation IUF as “presumably a compelling public interest.”

IUF adds: “The Commission’s ongoing refusal to make available its risk assessment data violates a 2013 ruling by the European Court of Justice requiring public disclosure.” In the light of the new IARC cancer rating, the UK TUC warned this year that because of the unquestionable risks posed by glyphosate, which can also causes short- and long-term skin, eye and respiratory problems and serious liver and kidney damage, it is “necessary to try to prevent any workers coming into contact with glyphosate”.

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