Germany's Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) rebuffs Portier glyphosate claim

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has published an assessment of allegedly new findings on the risk assessment of glyphosate, following inquiries concerning an open letter from consultant Christopher Porter to President Jean-Claude Juncker.

Consultant Christopher Portier addressed the President of the Commission in an open letter and reported that tumour studies in feeding studies with mice and rats were allegedly not included in the European risk assessment.

BfR said the claim that findings have been overlooked is not correct, based on the available scientific data and publications of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the European Food Authority (EFSA):

"All the original studies mentioned have been taken into account in the evaluations of the European authorities in accordance with their relevance. The BfR recommends that the calculations of Professor Portier be published scientifically in order to bring them to scientific discourse."

Portier carried out his statistical analyses after completion of the German preparations for the evaluation reports to EFSA and the ECHA for the re-evaluation of glyphosate. The statistical calculations he has made are known to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) from lectures held at the Annual Meeting 2016 of the Swiss Society of Toxicology in Basel, Switzerland and at ECHA.

BfR said: "So far the findings of Christopher Portier with their single analyses have unfortunately not been made available to the public and neither peer-reviewed nor published in a specialist magazine.

"Christopher Portier had the opportunity to present his calculations and statistical conclusions at ECHA both in the public consultation in July 2016 and at a hearing in November 2016. These were discussed by the ECHA experts and taken into account during their vote.

"ECHA has made it clear that it has incorporated the considerations of Christopher Portier in its assessment and discussion, and has also published his lecture, which he held as the representative of the non-governmental organization HEAL.

"ECHA, along with the 'Weight of Evidence' (WoE) approach recommended in the Technical Guidelines, taking into account all statistical analyses and the inclusion of its own statisticians, as well as analyses by Christopher Portier, together with other guidelines for the estimation of carcinogenic potential.

"As a result of which there is no evidence for a carcinogenic or genotoxic effect of glyphosate. A comprehensive justification for the vote of the ECHA has been published on the website of ECHA.

"All of the original studies referred to in the letter from Mr Portier were taken into account in the evaluations of the European authorities according to their reliability and relevance." 

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