The European Commission proposed on Wednesday extending EU approval for use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Bayer AG’s Roundup weed killer, by ten years.
The World Health Organization’s cancer research agency concluded in 2015 that glyphosate was probably carcinogenic to humans, but other agencies around the world, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Chemicals Agency, have classified glyphosate as non-carcinogenic.
Bayer has said decades of studies have shown it is safe and the chemical has been widely used by farmers for decades, but EU approval was set to expire at the end of the year.
Germany’s Bayer acquired Roundup through its $63 billion purchase of U.S. agrochemical group Monsanto in 2018 and has since spent billions of dollars to settle a series of U.S. lawsuits claiming it caused cancer.
The Commission’s proposal will be put to a vote on October 13 by the 27 European Union members, with a “qualified majority” of 15 representing at least 65 per cent of the bloc’s population required either to support or to block the proposal.
The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) said in a report issued in July that it had not identified “critical areas of concern” to prevent renewed approval.
Bayer said it welcomed the Commission’s proposal and that the decision of EU members should be based on the scientific conclusions of relevant authorities, such as EFSA, leading to re-approval.
Campaign group Pesticide Action Network Europe said that there were serious concerns about the safety assessments and that polls in six EU countries showed citizens did not support the extension of approval.