The European Commission has extended the licence for glyphosate for another 18 months until Europe’s chemical experts have reported back.
Environmental campaigners have long criticised the weedkiller as a toxic pollutant, but recently attention has focused on the risk it could pose to human health.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is an arm of the World Health Organisation, has concluded yes, it’s “probably carcinogenic to humans”. The European Food Safety Authority, however, has concluded it’s unlikely to be.
This left MEPs confused and unable to agree on whether they should extend glyphosate’s licence for another 15 years. A statement on the Commission’s website now reads:
“The Commission adopted the extension of the current approval of glyphosate for a limited period until the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) has concluded its review – since member states failed to take responsibility.”
This seems to have annoyed anti-pesticide campaigners and farmers alike. More than six billion tonnes of the substance has been sprayed on crops, gardens and public spaces in the past decade, noted the Guardian.