The EU body that decides whether or not glyphosate — the key ingredient in Monsanto's best-selling RoundUp herbicide — should be classified as cancer-causing is due to announce a decision next week. The only problem? The EU Chemicals Agency Risk Assessment Committee is stacked with pro-industry advocates, including the chair.
Make no mistake: the science on glyphosate is clear. In 2015, the World Health Organization ruled that glyphosate is a carcinogen, and is also “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
But we know there’s too much corporate money involved for it to be that simple. The chair of the EU committee worked in the agro-chemical industry for 20 years — and ended his contract the day before he agreed to lead the panel that would decide glyphosate’s future in Europe. And two other committee members are staunch defenders of corporate rights in the chemical industry.
This is not what democracy looks like. Demand that the European Chemicals Agency reconvene a committee of scientists without ties to Monsanto or the agro-chemical industry.
In a letter to the EU agency on behalf of 20 health and environmental organisations, Greenpeace said that the chairman of ECHA’s Risk Assessment Committee and two other members appear to breach the agency’s own conflict of interest rules. The organisations also criticised ECHA’s practice of basing assessments on unpublished industry studies. How can they be independently verified if they're based on unpublished studies?
This isn’t the first time supposed neutral decision-making bodies were discovered to have suspicious ties to industry. In America, an Environmental Protection Agency official who dismissed, against scientific evidence, the charge that glyphosate caused cancer has been accused of having a highly suspicious relationship with Monsanto and allegedly strained and even broke ethical boundaries to benefit Monsanto's case.
At SumOfUs, we have been fighting Monsanto and the agro-chemical industry's harmful chemicals for years. The tide is slowly turning against these toxic substances that poison our pollinators, our food supply and our bodies. Canada is close to banning bee-killing neonics and a full glyphosate ban across Europe is within our grasp — we just need a fair shake.