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Clean bill of health for glyphosate - a fatal decision of ECHA

16.03.2017, PAN Germany, Dr. Peter Clausing

On 15 March 2017 the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announced its decision on the weedkiller glyphosate: a complete acquittal with regard to cancer risk, possible genotoxicity and reproductive toxicity.

At a press conference, the representatives of ECHA explained that there was "not enough evidence" for carcinogenic effects. It was admitted that there were signs of cancer in the studies, which, however, were only "slightly" above background. It can be seen in the available official reports that the "background data" - the so-called historical control data - were violating the scientific rules and purpose-made to dismiss the findings. This clearly did not seem to have disturbed ECHA's Risk Assessment Committee. Asked whether the precautionary principle was applied to the evaluation, Jack de Bruijn from the ECHA said that all the data had been looked at and then a "weight of evidence approach" had been used. The precautionary principle was "not so much applied". PAN Germany recently presented a thorough review of such a "weight of evidence judgment" (http://www.pan-germany.org/download/The_Carcinogenic_Hazard_of_Glyphosate.pdf). "It is disappointing that the ECHA has apparently also made use of such an industry-friendly weight of evidence", says Peter Clausing of PAN Germany.

A big contradiction opened up when ECHA yesterday admitted that there are indications for cancer in humans (non-Hodgkin's lymphoma), but then swept these findings aside. It is a scandalous to claim that these epidemiological studies have "a lot of problems", even though the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) evaluated these studies as high or medium quality.

Five or ten years later, perhaps, when even more proof has accumulated, the members of ECHA's Ris Assessment Committee will be asked why they did not sufficiently fulfil their responsibility to protect the health of the European citizens. Until then an unknown number of people will have suffered from cancer caused by glyphosate.

Further publications, news and information about glyphosate can be found in our database

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