By Arthur Neslen – The Guardian, 29 June 2016


Roundup weedkiller in a gardening store in Lille. France is one of seven EU members to introduce a prohibition on glyphosate. Photograph: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images


Glyphosate, key ingredient in Monsanto’s bestselling herbicide, has European licence extended for 18 months despite warnings it is ‘probably carcinogenic’

The European commission has given a last-minute reprieve to glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s bestselling Roundup weedkiller, just hours before it faced a recall from shops across the continent.

A row over the health risks posed by the substance has divided scientists, governments and international agencies, and led to the threat of lawsuits against the commission.

Glyphosate will now be given an 18-month extension until a new ruling on its safety is provided by the European Chemical Agency, by the end of 2017.

In a concession to the environmental campaign – which collected 2m signatures against relicensing the product – the commission announced new restrictions on its use in the interim.

Enrico Brivio, a commission spokesman, said: “These conditions include the ban of a co-formulant (tallowamine) from glyphosate-based products, obligations to reinforce scrutiny of pre-harvest uses of glyphosate as well as to minimise the use in specific areas such as public parks and playgrounds.”

However, these restrictions will not be binding on EU states.


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