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EU Regulators Dismiss Evidence Linking Glyphosate to Cancer

Pesticide glyphosate received the approval of EU chemicals regulators for continued sales, as they dismissed evidence linking the substance to cancer. The studies were performed on rodents, and seven out of seven of them showed that mice and rats exposed to the weedkiller developed more than one kind of tumor, a number that rose as the glyphosate dose increased. 

Glyphosate is the world’s most widely used weedkiller, and its EU license renewal has been in the eye of the storm, with environmentalists and agribusiness fighting over it and the future of farming.

The European Chemicals Agency’s (ECHA) Committee for risk assessment found that “the available scientific evidence did not meet the criteria to classify glyphosate for specific target organ toxicity, or as a carcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic substance.”

However, the committee reaffirmed its earlier warning that glyphosate can cause “serious eye damage” and is also “toxic to aquatic life with long-lasting effects.”

Environmental and health activists have protested the verdict, as they believe that relevant evidence was not taken into account. Some of these studies have shown glyphosate to have adverse effects on bumblebee colonies, algae, and other microscopic animals, the loss of which would trigger an irreparable loss of biodiversity

The EU license for glyphosate was due to expire in December, but the decision was pushed back to mid-2023 due to the huge number of responses to public consultations.

Bayer, which manufactures glyphosate-based Roundup herbicides, continues to maintain that glyphosate is safe for human health if used as instructed, highlighting its 4-decade safety record. However, the chemical company faces thousands of lawsuits in the US from claims that their product is carcinogenic. 

Malignant lymphomas, kidney and liver tumors, and skin keratoacanthomas were all found in the studies where a control group was exposed to the substance. 

Coffee and cereals, such as wheat and oats, are among the plantations most frequently sprayed with glyphosate, and they are, in turn, staples of the American diet. People who wish to avoid this chemical ingestion can look for the “Glyphosate Residue Free” inscription on the product’s label.

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