Molly has thrown her weight behind a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) calling for a ban on the controversial weed killer glyphosate. She has also called for EU regulatory approval of pesticides and herbicides to be based on studies commissioned by public authorities rather than the pesticide industry.
The call comes in the wake of accusations that Monsanto, a major supplier of products containing glyphosate, ‘ghost-wrote’ studies which downplayed the health risks associated with exposure to the herbicide. In 2015 the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen. By contrast, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that it is unlikely that glyphosate is carcinogenic. However, at least one Monsanto-sponsored review of studies on genotoxicity was included in the evidence used by the EFSA.
In March, a cross-party group of MEPs, led by the Greens, wrote to EU Commission President Juncker expressing concern about the ‘Monsanto Papers’. Four Green/EFA MEPs have launched a case at the European Court of Justice to gain access to documents used in EFSA’s assessment of glyphosate.
“The Monsanto papers highlight the undue influence agri-chemical corporations have on assessments of toxic chemicals like glyphosate. It also shows the urgent need for assessments of harmful substances to be based on fully independent and public studies so that they are fully impartial, transparent and open to proper scrutiny. This would ensure they are based solely on research that is in the public domain and peer-reviewed, not based on corporate-sponsored studies. Increasing transparency would help increase public trust in the important work regulatory agencies do.
“EU approval of glyphosate is due to expire by the end of this year. With on-going doubts about its impacts on health and the harmful effects it has on plant and animal life, I fully support an EU ban on this toxic substance. I therefore give my full backing to the ECI which is just short of the one million signatures needed to ensure the Commission responds to the petition. I am delighted that the UK is one of the countries that has shown the strongest support for this initiative.”