Weedkillers containing glyphosate pose no cancer threat if used in accordance with the label, a study claims.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reassessed glyphosate and said that it is “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans”.
Earlier this year the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified the chemical as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
The Soil Association and Friends of the Earth had seized on the findings as another reason for glyphosate to be banned by the EU.
Now, the EFSA has had a second look at the key studies examined by the IARC, as well as additional data, and claims that glyphosate is safe.
The European Commission will be looking at the EFSA’s report when it decides whether glyphosate should remain on its list of approved active substances – a condition for the chemical’s continued use in the EU.
Nick von Westenholz, CEO of the Crop Protection Association said: “As an industry we take pride in the fact that our products are demonstrably safe.
“Pesticides are among the most heavily regulated products in Europe. It takes about 10 years and costs over £150million to bring an active ingredient to market. Glyphosate is an important part of a gardener’s toolbox.”
A spokesman for Scotts Miracle-Gro, which makes products including Roundup weedkiller, said: “This latest EFSA determination should reassure consumers that they can continue to use glyphosate products.”
Policy director at organic group the Soil Association, Peter Melchett, said the EFSA’s review of glyphosate looked almost entirely at unpublished, industry-funded studies so the result was hardly a surprise.
He said the next serious scientific review of glyphosate will be carried out by the European Chemicals Agency, the authority responsible for EU chemicals legislation and protecting human health and the environment.
“Their conclusions may still condemn glyphosate and prevent the weedkiller being re-approved under EU law.”