Controversial Glyphosate Extension: EU’s 10-Year Approval Sparks Environmental Outcry

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EU’s 10-year approval of the controversial glyphosate extension has sparked an environmental outcry.

The European Union’s recent decision to extend the authorization of glyphosate for another decade has stirred significant debate and controversy within its member states.

Despite the ongoing controversy surrounding Bayer AG’s Roundup weedkiller and its active ingredient, glyphosate, this decision has highlighted the delicate balance between the chemical’s potential health risks and agricultural necessity.

The controversy surrounding glyphosate dates back to 2015, when the World Health Organization’s cancer research agency suggested a possible link between glyphosate and human carcinogenicity.

This conclusion starkly contrasts with assessments from various other global agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and European agencies, which have classified glyphosate as non-carcinogenic.

In the face of this discord, the European Commission has opted to prolong the approval of glyphosate, citing safety assessments from the European Food Agency and the European Chemicals Agency.

This extension comes with added conditions and restrictions, notably revised maximum application rates, demonstrating a proactive approach towards balancing its usage while mitigating potential risks.

Bayer, the company that acquired Roundup through its purchase of Monsanto, has lauded this decision by the EU. They’ve highlighted the pivotal role glyphosate plays in providing advanced weed management technology to farmers across the European Union. However, this endorsement has faced sharp criticism from environmental groups, such as Greenpeace, which strongly condemned the decision.

Bayer is concurrently grappling with numerous lawsuits in the United States, where plaintiffs allege a link between glyphosate and cancer.

Despite these legal battles, glyphosate has been a staple in farming practices and infrastructure maintenance, serving as a widely used tool for weed clearance in various settings for decades.

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The proposal for a 10-year extension of glyphosate’s authorization required approval from the EU’s 27 member countries, demanding a “qualified majority” consensus.

Unfortunately, recent voting sessions failed to achieve this majority, compelling the Commission to step in and finalize the decision before the looming expiration date of December 15.

This decision has drawn vehement criticism from several quarters. The Confederation Paysanne, a pro-environmental farming group in France, decried the approval process as “scandalous,” echoing sentiments of disapproval from countries like France, which chose to abstain from voting.

Greenpeace vehemently opposed the decision, citing scientific opinions regarding glyphosate’s potential adverse impacts on human health and the environment.

They passionately advocated for alternative agricultural practices, urging policymakers to support farmers in transitioning away from glyphosate.

However, farming groups Copa and Cogeca argued that currently, there’s no comparable substitute for glyphosate’s efficacy in weed management.

Moving forward, individual EU countries will retain the authority to authorize plant protection products containing glyphosate. This decentralized approach reflects the diverse perspectives within the Union regarding the regulation of this contentious substance.



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