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Transparency on safety aspects and use of glyphosate-containing herbicides in Europe

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IARC chair allegedly withheld data - no cancer risk

On 14 June, Reuters published a special report revealing that the chairman of the IARC committee responsible of glyphosate classification, Dr. Aaron Blair, deliberately withheld data from a significant study which strongly suggested that glyphosate is not carcinogenic. In a sworn deposition given as part of the ongoing U.S. legal case against Monsanto, Dr. Blair admitted that the data would have changed IARC’s analysis.
 
IARC’s classification of glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic” had a major impact on the debate about the re-authorisation approval in Europe. It led to the Commission deciding to seek an additional risk assessment by ECHA and a de facto 18-month delay in the approval process for glyphosate.  Furthermore, the IARC classification introduced an element of doubt on the scientific assessments undertaken by independent and credible regulatory agencies across the globe, all of whom have concluded that glyphosate is non-carcinogenic.

Dr. Blair’s comments point to serious questions in relation to IARC’s transparency, credibility and scientific process as they call into question the outcome of IARCs evaluation. As a result, the nature of the discrepancy between IARC, on the one hand, and the assessments conducted by ECHA and EFSA and other regulatory authorities around the world, on the other, seems clear. This removes any doubt raised around the EFSA and ECHA assessments and there is no scientific argument to justify further delay in re-approving glyphosate for 15 years.
 
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Last update: 21 June 2017