The Crop Protection Association (CPA) has dismissed claims that glyphosate regulators have understated the importance of research showing birth defects in experimental animals.
The Soil Association last week highlighted a paper published in The Journal of Environmental & Analytical Toxicology that discusses what the association called "wide-ranging problems in regulation of the pesticide glyphosate over many years".
The organic farming charity said the study finds that by discounting data showing negative impacts and relying on industry-funded studies, the product has been under-regulated. The paper calls into question the regulators' conclusion that glyphosate and Roundup are safe. It calls for pesticide regulators to take a precautionary approach and undertake a new risk assessment.
Meanwhile, the Soil Association said a Government study published on the Health & Safety Executive website found an average of 24 per cent of bread samples in the latest (2011) surveys contained glyphosate.
The charity added that the paper follows a French study by Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini in Food & Chemical Toxicology, which reported increased levels of tumours and other health problems in rats fed on GM Roundup Ready maize.
But the CPA said there is no new health or toxicological evidence on glyphosate. "Regulatory authorities and independent experts agree that glyphosate does not cause adverse reproductive effects in adult animals or birth defects in offspring of adults exposed to glyphosate.
"The authors of the report create an account of glyphosate toxicity from a selected set of scientific studies, while they ignored much of the comprehensive data establishing the safety of the product. Regulatory agencies have concluded that glyphosate is not a reproductive toxin or teratogen based on in-depth review of comprehensive data sets. Additionally, we have anecdotal results from first-hand experience of millions of farmers and home gardeners who have used this product for decades.
"To understand the active ingredient, it helps to know that glyphosate inhibits an enzyme that is essential to plant growth. This enzyme is not found in humans or other animals, contributing to the low risk to human health from the use of glyphosate according to label directions.
"In respect of the Seralini study, the claims are no more than scaremongering. It has been very widely discredited by credible scientists."
Glyphosate Research published online
- Journal of Environmental and Analytical Toxicology www.omicsonline.org/2161-0525/2161-0525-S4-006.php?aid=7453
- Seralini study www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691512005637
- Seralini response www.europabio.org/agricultural/news/ public-authorities-reject-gmo-scare-study