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Source: by Eric Sfiligo, CropLife magazine

For several years now, numerous countries around the world have limited or outright banned the use of glyphosate within their borders. Indeed, some of the herbicide's harshest critics have resided within the European Union (EU) block.

But glyphosate got some encouraging news lately. In the EU, all approved pesticide active ingredients undergo routine scientific evaluations, which are conducted by designated member states and then peer reviewed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Glyphosate is currently going through this routine renewal process in the EU. The designated members for the current glyphosate renewal process - known as the Assessment Group on Glyphosate (AGG) - are France, Hungary, the Netherlands, and Sweden.

In mid-June, the AGG published its main conclusions for glyphosate. Among the key findings were that "taking all the evidence into account ( i.e., animal experiments, epidemiological studies, and statistical analyses), AGG proposes that a classification of glyphosate with regard to carcinogenicity is not justified." The group also concluded that the classification of glyphosate as toxic for reproduction and for germ cell mutagenicity genotoxic or mutagenic "is not justified."

"Overall, the AGG concludes that glyphosate meets the approval criteria for human health," stated the report.

Naturally, Bayer CropScience, which markets glyphosate to much of the globe, was pleased with these conclusions. "The AGG's conclusions are consistent with the conclusions of leading health authorities around the world," said the company in a press release. "For more than 40 years, leading health authorities have repeatedly concluded that glyphosate-based products are safe for use according to label instructions and that glyphosate is not carcinogenic."

Although glyphosate still has several more steps remaining in the current EU glyphosate renewal process, these initial findings show that at least some members agree that the science regarding the safety of glyphosate remains sound.

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