The European Commission has finally decided to extend the approval for glyphosate for 18 months to allow the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to assess the science and provide advice. While it’s disappointing not to achieve a full ban at this point in time, it is still a partial win none the less.
PAN UK is disappointed that the European Commission has decided to act unilaterally in the face of strong opposition from some member states and go against the advice of the European Parliament and extend the approval of glyphosate – even if it is only for 18 months. This 18-month period comes without any binding restrictions on use that would help reduce public exposure to glyphosate. Instead the Commission has presented some incredibly weak (and ultimately meaningless) recommendations to Member States on actions they ‘could’ take if they want. Lets hope some of them do!
The World Health Organization's Cancer Agency (IARC) conducted a comprehensive review of the science last year, and its conclusions were clear – glyphosate probably causes cancer in humans, and this classification means that the EC should not re-approve it for any use.
One silver lining is that the Commission's original plan was to re-approve glyphosate for another 15 years, but thanks to IARC opinion and campaigning by NGOs like PAN UK and PAN Europe alongside independent concerned scientists; it has now only been reapproved temporarily and the door remains open for further restrictions - or even a ban - at the end of this.
Importantly, this decision shows that campaigns and public opinion can influence our leaders. This should encourage us that the battle can be won and we here at PAN-UK will spend the next 18 months working hard to convince Member States that a ban on Glyphosate is the right thing to do for the environment and the health of their citizens.