“By reauthorizing glyphosate you’re increasing our cancers”

Thursday, May 12, 2016


Today, Pesticide Action Network Europe together with 38 European health and environmental organisations, are sending an open letter to the decision-makers of the 28 EU Member States to urge them to vote against the reauthorisation of the cancer-causing pesticide ingredient glyphosate, and protect its people from this spreading disease.

The vote, which has already been postponed once due to lack of consensus among Member States, 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 DG SANTE of the European Commission. The letter is addressed to the all the Ministry representatives of the EU member States that will vote in Brussels and to the Ministers themselves.

Despite the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)’s recent classification of glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen, the European Commission recommends its re-authorisation as a pesticide ingredient for another 9 years -with no restriction of use- whilst the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) has already increased the glyphosate residue levels permitted in our food.

The letter draws particular attention to the epidemiology studies that reveal a correlation between exposure to glyphosate and the abundance of cancer incidences of 'Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma' (NHL). The studies released so far were analysed by Prof. Greiser (in a “meta-analysis”), who found a 45 percent increased risk of NHL for people working with glyphosate – in comparison to those who don’t[1]. According to the Professor “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”.

PAN Europe and other civil society organizations, scientists and the European Parliament have already communicated their concerns to the regulators about the problematic assessment of glyphosate by European Authorities that failed to recognize its carcinogenic potential and other reported adverse effects[2]. “We have human evidence, animal experiment evidence, and mechanistic evidence (DNA damage) that glyphosate and glyphosate-based products cause cancer,” says Angeliki Lyssimachou, Environmental Toxicologist of PAN Europe. “Apparently the Authorities don’t mind if pesticides may cause a little bit of cancer to the European population”.  

Last week, PAN International, a global network of more than 600 organizations, sent out an open letter to Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) raising its concerns about the errors in the European assessment of glyphosate and calling on its members to revise with scrutiny the safety of this chemical with the overall aim “to protect human health, the environment and the future generations”[3]. JMPR is revising the assessment of glyphosate this week.

By reauthorizing glyphosate, Europe would be putting its 500 million EU people at risk of cancer. In this case EU could potentially face legal prosecution from those that have been exposed unnecessarily to glyphosate through its use in agriculture and in other areas. Is this really how democracy should work in the EU?  

[1] http://www.pan-europe.info/press-releases/2016/04/environmentalists-pres...

[2] http://www.pan-europe.info/resources/other

[3] http://www.pan-europe.info/sites/pan-europe.info/files/JMPR%20letter%20P...