Date Added to website 28th July 2015
Calls for a global ban on glyphosate / Roundup
Soil Association calls for ban on Glyphosate: the world’s most widely sold weedkiller
Three months ago, the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), concluded ‘Glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans’. The newly recognised dangers of Glyphosate come against a background of increased use in the UK – not just in farming but also in public parks and other urban areas to kill weeds.
On 15 July, new figures analysed by the Soil Association were released at a scientific briefing in London showing Glyphosate use in UK farming has increased by 400% in the last 20 years and it’s one of the three pesticides regularly found in routine testing of British bread - appearing in up to 30% of samples tested by the Defra committee on Pesticide Residues in Food (PRiF).
The Soil Association is now calling for a UK ban on the use of Glyphosate sprayed on UK wheat as a pre-harvest weedkiller and its use to kill the crop to ripen it faster.
The scientific panel included Professor Christopher Portier, one of the co-authors of the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) recent report which determined Glyphosate’s status as a probable carcinogen, who reiterated the IARC’s conclusions, and said: “Glyphosate is definitely genotoxic. There is no doubt in my mind.”
We also heard from Dr Robin Mesnage of the Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics at Kings College in London, who revealed new data analysis showing Round Up, the most common brand of Glyphosate based herbicides, is 1,000 times more toxic than Glyphosate alone due to the inlusion of other toxic chemicals in its mix.
Finally, Claire Robinson, an editor at GMWatch.org gave the international perspective looking at moves by other counrtries to ban Glyphosate; “Outside the United Kingdom, the reaction to the WHO IARC report has been dramatic. Some retailers in Switzerland and Germany have removed Glyphosate products and France has committed to do so by 2018 and German states are calling for an EU wide ban. The Danish Working Environment Authority has declared it as a carcinogen and El Salvador and Sri Lanka have banned it and the Colombia government has banned aerial spraying on coca crops.”
Peter Melchett, Soil Association policy director said; “If Glyphosate ends up in bread it’s impossible for people to avoid it, unless they are eating organic. On the other hand, farmers could easily choose not to use Glyphosate as a spray on wheat crops – just before they are harvested. This is why the Soil Association is calling for the immediate ending of the use of Glyphosate sprays on wheat destined for use in bread.
“We heard today that we shouldn’t rely on regulators to protect our health, the battle will be won by consumers ensuring retailers and bread manufacturers insist their products don’t contain any Glyphosate. Although the quantities found are below the official safety level, that limit was agreed before the latest scientific findings about the dangers of Glyphosate. The Glyphosate spraying season starts now, and in the interests of human health and the quality of British bread, the government needs to call a halt to the spraying before it starts.”