May 12th, 2017
A European Citizen’s Initiative (ECI) calling on the European Commission to ban the use of Glyphosate has received the support of almost 750,000 people across Europe.
The pan-European campaign is also calling on the European Commission (EC) to reform the pesticide approval procedure and set mandatory reduction targets for the use of toxic pesticides.
An ECI is a special EU-wide petition which legally requires the Commission to take action if one million signatures are received.
The one million signatures need to be collected from at least seven European countries within a year of the campaign’s launch.
The independent campaign group, Uplift, is leading the campaign in Ireland, which needs 9,000 signatures before the deadline of 25 January 2018.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup product, the world’s most widely used herbicide.
A recent European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) study found that Ireland has the second-highest levels of glyphosate in surface water, with the chemical also detected in drinking water.
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has said that there isn’t enough scientific evidence currently available to prove that glyphosate causes cancer, with the EFSA arriving at the same conclusion in November 2015.
However, in a letter sent to EC President Jean-Claude Juncker in March, a group of 30 MEPs questioned the validity of a study used by the EFSA in its assessment. According to the letter, the study was co-authored by a former Monsanto employee.
The letter calls on the Commission not to propose any new approval of glyphosate until the validity of studies used in both the ECHA and EFSA assessments are verified. Glyphosate received a temporary licence from the Commission last June.
Internal Monsanto documents unsealed by a federal court in San Francisco earlier this year also suggest that the company had ghost-written research later attributed to academics.
Over 50 lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco against Monsanto by plaintiffs alleging that exposure to Roundup caused them or family members to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The plaintiffs also allege that Monsanto covered up the risks.
South Dublin County Council unanimously voted last week to ban the use of glyphosate in public areas.
You can find more information and see the full text of the European Citizen’s Initiative here.