Brussels proposes 10-year glyphosate renewal

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The European Commission has proposed to renew the approval of glyphosate in the EU for a further 10 years, with a number of restrictions.

Glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the EU, has, for a long time, been the target of environmental campaigns who want to see it banned.

But the Commission has submitted a draft regulation to member states, proposing that approval is renewed for the EU market beyond 15 December this year, when the current approval expires, Euractiv reports.

“It is appropriate to provide for a renewal of the approval of glyphosate for a period of ten years,” the text reads.

Commission spokesman Stefan de Keersmaecker told reporters on Wednesday (20 September) the proposal was based on scientific, solid information considering different active substances involved.

The regulation, if passed, will mean that glyphosate can continue to be used in plant protection across the EU for the next decade, but that the approval can be reconsidered at any point during this time if need be.

However, the report stressed that EU countries still have the chance to block the draft regulation during a vote in the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (PAFF committee) set to be held in October.

The Commission proposal comes on the back of a lengthy evaluation process on the safety and risks of glyphosate. The EU Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has concluded that no ‘critical concerns’ are linked to the use of glyphosate, but that data gaps do not allow conclusions on a number of aspects, including the ecotoxicology of the substance and specifically the risk it poses to mammals.

A high-ranking Commission official acknowledged that there are ‘some data gaps, and some issues are not fully finalised’ in the EFSA conclusion, but said this was the case ‘in practically all of EFSA’s conclusions on all substances’.

After reviewing the EFSA report, the Commission concluded that the issues in question ‘do not constitute a risk to human health or the environment’ and that renewal is ‘possible with appropriate conditions’, he said.

Appropriate conditions

The Commission has, therefore, included a list of issues member states are required to pay ‘particular attention’ to when they approve plant protection products containing glyphosate and decide on potential restrictions on their use.

This includes a risk assessment of ‘co-formulants’, while national regulators are also urged to consider the potential risk of spray drift.

The draft regulation also sets out that they should make risk mitigation measures a condition for the use of glyphosate, while also considering the risk of non-professionals using the product, Euractiv reports.

A leaked EU draft report on the renewal of EU approval for the controversial herbicide glyphosate suggests it could be approved as early as September.


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