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Glyphosate licence renewal suspended in light of health concerns

08 March 2016
by greenpeace -- last modified 08 March 2016

A national experts' vote on the European Commission’s plan to grant a new 15-year lease to the herbicide glyphosate was cancelled today, as several countries raised concerns over cancer warnings by the World Health Organisation (WHO)


The EU licence of the world’s most used weedkiller runs out at the end of June. The Commission had tried to get the green light from national experts for a new licence, despite scientific evidence showing that glyphosate is a serious threat to our health and the environment.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is about to investigate the wider human health effects of glyphosate, following the WHO’s warnings. This process will only be finalised towards the end of 2017. If ECHA finds that glyphosate can cause cancer, interfere with reproduction or damage the hormone system, then it can no longer be sold, according to EU law.

Greenpeace EU food policy director Franziska Achterberg said: “Rushing to grant a new licence now, without waiting for an evaluation by Europe’s chemical agency, would be like skydiving without checking your equipment first. As long as there is conflicting scientific advice, glyphosate should not be approved for use in the EU. And countries would be better advised to do without it.”


Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties.

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