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Goodbye Glyphosate? EU Says No To Chemical Sale Extension

An EU proposal to extend the sale of the chemical in Monsanto's Roundup has failed to garner enough support in the EU.

Glyphosate is a the chemical in the herbicide Roundup and a possible carcinogen, according to a recent study.

It seems Roundup’s time is up, at least in the European Union.

An EU proposal to extend the sale of glyphosate – the active ingredient in the Monsanto herbicide – already failed earlier this year, so EU executives offered a 12- to 18-month extension to allow time for further study of the chemical.

That proposed extension failed this week.

Glyphosate was thrown back into the spotlight earlier this year after contradictory findings on carcinogenic risks of the chemical. A 2016 study of glyphosate by the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization said glyphosate is unlikely to pose a risk to people exposed to it through food. Those results match those of a study by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), an independent agency funded by the European Union.

But a March 2015 study by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer said the chemical was is likely able to cause cancer, thus classifying it as a ‘Group 2A’ carcinogen. It assessed whether the substance can cause cancer in any way, regardless of real-life conditions on typical levels of human exposure or consumption.

If the EU does halt glyphosate sales, Monsanto could see a $100 million loss in earnings reduced as premium branded Roundup is diverted to the generic market, said Bernstein senior analyst Jonas Oxgaard to Reuters.

The EU’s license to sell glyphosate expires at the end of this month, when a six-month phase out of the product is scheduled to begin.

Read More:

  • EU countries refuse to back new license for glyphosate weed killer (Reuters)
  • EU Fails to Get Sufficient Majority in Vote to Extend Glyphosate Use (Wall Street Journal)
  • Recall of Monsanto’s Roundup likely as EU refuses limited use of glyphosate (The Guardian)
Taylor Killough

Taylor Killough has degrees anthropology and journalism. She has worked with the oral history project StoryCorps. A nomad at heart, she recently returned to Louisville, Kentucky, where's she's excited to have her own kitchen and garden again.

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