According to the French Minister of Ecology Francois Hulot, the Macron government intends to vote against an EU proposal to renew the license for the authorization of the use of glyphosate, the most common of the various weedkillers suspected of causing tumors, whose harmfulness for human and environmental health has been certified. Negotiations resumed yesterday in Brussels and the European Commission is expected to take a final decision on the sale and use of the dangerous weedkiller over the next ten years within the first ten days of October.
‘By maintaining the pro-environment pledges they made in the French election campaign, Macron and his minister are taking a decision in favor of human health,’ says Maria Grazia Mammuccini, spokesperson of Coalizione StopGlifosato, a coalition of 45 Italian associations opposed to the use of glyphosate. ‘At the end of July we wrote a letter to ministers Martina and Lorenzin to make sure Italy sides against glyphosate. We still haven’t received a reply. We are asking the Italian government to say clearly what side it intends to be on and we truly hope it will follow Macron and Hulot’s example.’
By the end of September the EU Commission will decide whether to authorize the unrestricted use of a chemical substance that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified as ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’. Contrariwise, two European agencies, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), have judged glyphosate as non-carcinogenic, though they recognize its harmfulness for humans and ecosystems as a result of its use for agricultural purposes. As Coalizione StopGlifosato points out, these conclusions have been queried not only by environmentalist and consumer associations but also by a section of the scientific world, critical of the methods used by the two European agencies, which took into account studies carried out by glyphosate manufacturers and consciously ignored the independent research of universities.
‘The scientific community is extremely skeptical about glyphosate being ‘acquitted’ of the risk of causing cancer,’ says Mammuccini. ‘Over 1,300,000 people have signed the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) to ban the weedkiller from our fields and hence from our tables. For a country like Italy that bases its agricultural and food production on quality, siding with the multinationals would be a spectacular own-goal.’
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