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Weed killer glyphosate wins five-year approval in EU vote
Nov. 27 (UPI) — The European Union voted to grant controversial weed killer ingredient glyphosate a new, five-year lease Monday.
A petition by 1.3 million EU citizens called for glyphosate to be banned after the herbicide was declared “probably carcinogenic to humans” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2015.
“The guidelines maintained by [the European Chemicals Agency] would easily classify this compound as a group 1B carcinogen and, as such, it should be banned for use in Europe,” IARC advisor Chris Portier said following the decision.
Glyphosate is used in weed-killing products such as Monsanto’s Roundup. The National Farmers Union says the herbicide is used in practices it views as environmentally friendly.
“Glyphosate reduces the need to use other herbicides, it helps to protect soil and cut greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the need for ploughing, and it enables farmers in this country to grow crops that help produce safe, affordable, high-quality British food,” the union’s vice-president, Guy Jenkins, said.
A total of 18 EU states voted in favor of extending glyphosate’s lease, while nine voted against and one abstained in the vote weighted by each member state’s population.
“Today’s vote shows that when we all want to, we are able to share and accept our collective responsibility in decision making,” EU health commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said.
Following the decision French President Emmanuel Macron called for government officials to establish a plan to ban glyphosate in France within three years.
Traces of glyphosate have been found in tests of foodstuffs, water, topsoil and human urine, according to the Detox Project , an organization that allows people to test themselves for traces of the chemical compound.
“The people who are supposed to protect us from dangerous pesticides have failed to do their jobs and betrayed the trust Europeans place in them,” Greenpeace EU food policy director Franziska Achterberg said.