Green groups press charges against Monsanto and licensing authorities PDF Print E-mail

picture of EU flagIn yet another blow to the credibility of the reauthorisation process for glyphosate in the European Union, it has been revealed today that important epidemiological information about the effects of glyphosate have been ignored by industry and regulators.

PAN UK, in partnership with seven other European environmental and health NGOs, has launched a legal challenge against the process for relicensing glyphosate, and is calling for a complete ban on the herbicide. There is very clear evidence that it causes cancer and it is also very clear that the people of the European Union do not want glyphosate to be used to grow their food or on the streets and parks where they live, work and play.

Below you will find a press release, issued today by Global 2000 and the Munich Environmental Institute (two of the NGOs working with PAN UK on the legal challenge to glyphosate), showing that some key studies on the toxicity of glyphosate. have been badly misinterpreted

Expert opinion proves systematic misinterpretation of glyphosate studies

Berlin, 21 April 2016: The Munich Environmental Institute (Umweltinstitut München) joins the Austrian environmental organisation GLOBAL 2000 in its legal proceedings against glyphosate manufacturer Monsanto and the leading licensing authorities. The environmental body presents new evidence showing that the responsible institutions misinterpreted research studies during the licensing procedure in order to conceal the carcinogenic risks associated with glyphosate and facilitate its reapproval.

In his assessment, epidemiologist Prof. Dr. Eberhard Greiser of the University of Bremen concludes that the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (FIRA) rejected almost all epidemiological studies on the carcinogenicity of glyphosate for unfounded reasons, disqualifying them as “not reliable”. According to Greiser, “Even in their initial licence application the pesticide manufacturers applied the incorrect methods for analysing these studies, and the FIRA uncritically adopted these misinterpretations. In my view, this method systematically rejected almost all epidemiological studies which would hinder the reapproval of glyphosate.”

An earlier analysis undertaken by toxicologist Peter Clausing had already shown that studies submitted by the industry of carcinogenicity using laboratory mice had been falsely evaluated, and as a result significant evidence of carcinogenicity in the animals had been concealed. “This attracted attention because two of these mice studies were also evaluated by the WHO,” explains Helmut Burtscher, biochemist at GLOBAL 2000. “In contrast to the FIRA, WHO experts found a significant incidence of tumours in all studies of carcinogenicity with mice.”

In its final assessment the FIRA accepted that the WHO findings were correct, and admitted to having simply adopted the statistical evaluations presented by the industry. Nevertheless, the FIRA still adheres to its recommendation that glyphosate be classified as “non-carcinogenic”. In response, in an open letter to the EU commission almost 100 respected scientists criticised the FIRA assessment as “scientifically unacceptable”, “fundamentally flawed” and “misleading”.

“The large number of deficiencies demonstrated in the licensing procedure give rise to the impression that the authorities and manufacturers have been working hand in hand to keep glyphosate on the European market by all means possible,” says Sophia Guttenberger, biologist and adviser on consumer protection at the Environmental Institute in Munich. “Such behaviour by the authorities would be strictly contrary to their statutory mission, and therefore the public prosecution department needs to examine whether those involved are guilty of an offence,” she adds.

“If there has been deliberate manipulation of the new licensing procedure for glyphosate with the intention of approving a carcinogenic substance, then this would be defrauding 508 million EU citizens,” states Viennese lawyer Dr. Josef Unterweger.

For this reason Dr. Unterweger is pressing charges on behalf of the above and six more environmental organisations: Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Germany, Générations Futures France, WeMove Europe,  PAN Europe, PAN UK und Nature & Progrès Belgique. A report will also be submitted to OLAF, the European anti-fraud office.
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