European agencies reject Portier glyphosate cancer claim

A challenge to European legislatory organisation's assessment of glyphosate has been rejected.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the German Risk Assessment Agency BfR have responded to International Agency for Research on Cancer consultant and campaigning scientist Dr Christopher Portier, rejecting his arguments and confirming their findings that glyphosate is not carcinogenic. 

In 2015, EFSA concluded glyphosate is unlikely to be carcinogenic. Portier said EFSA and ECHA had failed to consider all previous studies and re-submitted its findings. The authorities have now said "none of these are relevant for the hazard and risk assessment of glyphosate".

The BfR statement says: "All the original studies on the toxicity of glyphosate cited by Christopher Portier in his letter to the President of the EU Commission have been taken into account in the evaluation of the European authorities in accordance with their scientific reliability and relevance,and have been assessed on the basis of agreed scientific principles. This means that individual data on the specified tumour types and incidences that have now been additionally analysed by Christopher Portier using his own method were already known.

"Following their own evaluations using established, internationally recognised, standard toxicological methods, all assessment authorities worldwide who had access to these original data have reached the conclusion that glyphosate should not be classified as carcinogenic."

The EU marketing authorisation of the herbicide is set to expire at the end of the year, and a decision over whether to extend it is pending, possibly for a decision within July.

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