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"By denying scientific principles, one may maintain any paradox." – Galileo Galilei

Prohibiting glyphosate would mark the end of agroecology, farmers say

AFP [translated from French] [reprinted in L’Express, Le Point, Le Figaro, Boursorama, Yahoo News, Metro Belgium, La Croix, Notre Temps, France Soir, Actu Politique, L’Yonne, Nord Eclair, L’Echo Republicain, La Voix du Nord, La Republique du Centre, Ouest France, Le Populaire du Centre,, ABC Bourse, bx1, RTL]

August 31, 2017

The US chemical industry on Thursday asked France to reconsider its intention to oppose the use of glyphosate, the most widespread controversial herbicide in Europe, in the European Union (EU).

“The safety of glyphosate has been proven. Regulatory agencies around the world, including Europeans such as the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) is not a carcinogen and we urge France to reconsider its decision and to take into account the conclusions of these organizations, “said Anne Kolton, vice-president in charge of communication of American Chemistry Council (ACC), an American consortium of companies in the chemical sector.

The French Ministry of Ecological Transition (Environment, Energy) announced on Wednesday that France would oppose the European Commission’s proposal to renew the license for glyphosate for a ten-year period, in a vote to be held on 4 October in a committee of experts from European countries.

“Public policy must be based on proven scientific facts and not on incendiary statements,” the ACC continues, “for which France’s position” runs counter to the conclusions of many international governmental agencies which unanimously glyphosate can be used safely “.

In July, the Commission proposed the renewal of the license for glyphosate, which expires at the end of 2017. This active substance is part of the composition of Roundup, Monsanto’s flagship product.

In 2016, in the absence of a qualified majority between the 28, the Commission had exceptionally extended the authorization for 18 months until the end of 2017, pending further opinions from European agencies.

Since then, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have concluded that there is no reason to classify this substance as a carcinogen.

Their opinions, however, did not put an end to the scientific controversy over the dangerousness of this product, classified as a “probable carcinogen” by the International Center for Research on Cancer (Circ, WHO), especially for gardeners and farmers, its main users.

The ACC on Thursday challenged the findings of the Circ, citing “significant and proven shortcomings” in its work of “erroneous” classification of glyphosate as a carcinogen.

The French announcement, Wednesday, also triggered an outcry from several agricultural organizations, which consider this product essential for crops but also for agroecology.