Renewable Farming

European Parliament debates scientific basis for renewing glyphosate registration

Independent scientists across the European Union are warning the European Food Standards Agency (EFSA) to look at the full range of health impact data before re-registering glyphosate herbicide.

The Deutsche Welle news agency has a revealing look at this controversy at this link. 

The World Health Organization has listed glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen,” while the EFSA recently declared glyphosate “probably not carcinogenic.”

The difference arises partly from the choice of data analyzed — and probably from the point of view of the agencies involved.  Little of the data available to either agency, from laboratory trials with test animals, includes the actual chemical blends used in the field. Typically, only the “active” ingredient, the glyphosate molecule, is used in those clinical tests.

But in the field, glyphosate’s absorption rate and internal synergism is amplified by the surfactants and adjuvants included in the product, but not detailed on the label.

Thus, the most relevant health-impact data on human health has come to rely on human response, literally in the field and at the dinner table. Only in a few regions of the world, like Sri Lanka and Argentina, are such epidemiology studies being done. Physicians and independent scientists are asking the EFSA to look at the full range of data, not just a tight array of clinical tests.