Glyphosate, the Bayer/Monsanto active ingredient in a number of top-selling garden weedkillers, including Roundup, continues to come under pressure from EU regulators and the US courts.
A US Jury this week found glyphosate contributed to man’s cancer in the first part of a trial that will eventually decide whether the manufacturer is liable. Reports say there are more than 10,000 cases naming Roundup waiting for US court hearings.
Also this week, the EU named the four countries that will be responsible for assessing the weedkiller’s future within the EU.
Although glyphosate has been described by some researchers and environmental campaigners as carcinogenic to humans, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) claim it is not.
The chemical’s licence for garden use in the EU was extended for five years in November 2017 after a controversial vote in Brussels.
After this week’s hearing, a statement from Bayer said, “We are disappointed with the jury’s initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms that glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer. We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto’s conduct has been appropriate and that the company should not be liable.”
In the EU, France, Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden have jointly agreed to take over from Germany as the lead countries responsible for assessing the safety of glyphosate. The Assessment Group on Glyphosate (AGG) will oversee the review process for the next round of relicensing, which starts in December, three years before the current licence expires.
France has been a leading campaigner against the use of glyphosate, which it aims to ban unilaterally for garden and agricultural use within three years.