As the contention surrounding Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer mounts, the European Union continues to struggle over whether to extend the license for glyphosate, the herbicide’s main ingredient, as its potential health risks for humans gain traction.
Last month Beasley Allen reported the European Commission (EC) was set to vote on extending glyphosate’s usage license before it expired in December, potentially affecting any decisions made in the United States on the matter as well. An EC vote Nov. 9 failed to grant the license extension as only half of the 28 member-states backed the proposal, according to the BBC. A European Union appeal committee will now be forced to take up the issue again at the end of the month.
According to the news source, the United Kingdom voted to back the license extension while nine countries, including France and Italy, voted against it and five countries, including Germany, abstained from the vote.
Glyphosate has been linked to the development non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), particularly in those who work in the agricultural industry. Court cases alleging the connection unsealed documents showing collusion between Monsanto and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials to kill a review of the ingredient and evidence the company ghost-wrote research on the weed killer’s safety that was later attributed to academics. The unsealed documents caught the attention of European officials on the verge of the renewal.
California has already been cleared to require a warning on Roundup products, relying on information from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The IRAC labels glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic.”
In its evaluation, the IARC notes the Environmental Protection Agency classified it as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” in 1985 based on the presence of tumors found in mice and only changed its stance after a “re-evaluation” of those results. The agency concluded: “There is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. Glyphosate also caused DNA and chromosomal damage in human cells.” All the while, Monsanto is still touting Roundup as safe, potentially endangering lives of around the globe to protect their profit margin.
The EPA is also expected to make its determination on glyphosate by the end of this year.
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Beasley Allen lawyer John Tomlinson, a member of our Toxic Torts Section, is actively investigating cases where landscapers, farmers, groundskeepers or commercial gardeners used commercial grade Roundup and developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He can be reached at 800-898-2034 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
International Agency for Research on Cancer