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expert reaction to Glyphosate licence renewed for five years

The European Commission has voted to renew the licence of glyphosate – a widely used pesticide.


Prof. Ian Toth, senior scientist at Cell and Molecular Sciences Group, The James Hutton Institute, said:

“I feel that this is a very sensible approach given the importance of glyphosate to weed control, giving all interested parties a 5-year window in which to seek viable alternative solutions.”


Dr Christopher Connolly, Reader in Neurobiology at the University of Dundee, said:

“The evidence on the risk to human health from glyphosate is highly controversial, making it difficult for politicians to make a sound science-based decision. It is alarming that it is so ubiquitous that it is found commonly in human urine.

We must make the next five years count, so that an evidence-based decision may be made at the end of this period. What is needed urgently is a completely unbiased review of the evidence against glyphosate, bearing in mind the level of exposure. Such evidence must come from a reputable source such as the International Unions of Pharmacologists and Toxicology (IUPHAR).”


Prof. Toby Mottram FREng, Founder and Chief Engineer at Milkalyser, said:

“This is a good news science story. Since one principle of toxicology is that response is proportional to dose, those who have had the most exposure to this substance over the longest period are most at risk and no studies of agricultural workers have shown increased risk of cancer, this should be the area most studied over the next 5 years.”


Prof. Ian Crute, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, said:

“For more than 40 years, glyphosate has enabled environmentally-beneficial tillage practices in arable agriculture globally through highly effective control of damaging perennial weeds. This decision removes a significant threat to the competitiveness of European farmers who can now breathe a sigh of relief.”


Declared interests

Dr Chris Connolly: “I have no conflicts of interest to declare.”

Prof Ian Crute: “Independent Member, Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board.”

None others received.

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