Environmentalists press charges against Monsanto and EU regulatory authorities
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Expert opinion proves systematic misinterpretation of glyphosate studies
The Munich Environmental Institute (Umweltinstitut München) and Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Germany join PAN Europe and 5 EU environmental organisations in their legal proceedings against those responsible for the assessment of glyphosate in Europe (Monsanto, the German government institute - BfR - and the European Food Safety Authority - EFSA).
EU environmental organizations, in an initiative taken by Global 2000 Austria, have filed new evidence to the attention of the state attorney in Berlin today showing that the institutions responsible for such products' licence renewal misinterpreted research studies during the assessment procedure in order to conceal the carcinogenic risks associated with glyphosate and facilitate its re-approval.
Epidemiologist Prof. Dr. Eberhard Greiser of the University of Bremen emphasizes BfR rejected almost all epidemiological studies on the carcinogenicity of glyphosate for unfounded reasons, disqualifying them as “not reliable”. According to Greiser, “BfR applied incorrect methods for analysing and rejecting these studies and EFSA approved them. These provide evidence that would hinder the re-approval of glyphosate.”
An earlier analysis undertaken by toxicologist Peter Clausing (PAN Germany) had already shown that studies submitted by the industry on carcinogenicity using laboratory mice had been falsely evaluated, and significant evidence of carcinogenicity in the animals had been concealed. “Two of these mice studies on carcinogenicity were also evaluated by IARC experts who in contrast to BfR, accepted the significant incidence of tumours as relevant” says Angeliki Lysimachou of Pesticides Action Network Europe.
In its final assessment the BfR accepted that the IARC/WHO findings were correct, and admitted to having simply adopted the statistical evaluations presented by the industry but still, both BfR and EFSA kept their conclusion that glyphosate is “non-carcinogenic”. In response, in an open letter to the EU Commission, 94 respected scientists criticised the BfR and EFSA’s assessment as “scientifically unacceptable”, “fundamentally flawed” and “misleading”.
“The large number of weaknesses in the licensing procedure of glyphosate give the impression that the authorities and manufacturers have been working hand in hand to keep glyphosate on the EU market by all means,” says Sophia Guttenberger, biologist and adviser on consumer protection at the Environmental Institute in Munich.
“If there has been deliberate manipulation of the new licensing procedure for glyphosate with the intention of approving a carcinogenic substance, then this would be defrauding 508 million EU citizens,” states Viennese lawyer Dr. Josef Unterweger.
For this reason Dr. Unterweger is pressing charges on behalf of Munich Environmental Institute and the six environmental organisations: Global 2000, Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Europe, PAN Germany, PAN UK, Générations Futures (France), WeMove Europe, and Nature & Progrès Belgique. A report will also be submitted to OLAF, the European anti-fraud office.