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"Monsanto papers": Ineligible drifts

Editorial. The American giant of the agrochemicals has systematically sought to influence the science market and to intervene in the decisions of the regulatory agencies.

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Editorial of "World". The Member States of European Union should vote on 23 October as a standing committee on Food chain and animal health to reauthorize – or not – glyphosate for ten years on old Continent. Ever since battle for banning of DDT, in years 1960 and 1970, a phytosanitary substance had focused as much on media attention. In March 2015, international Centre for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified "probable carcinogen" glyphosate, most used pesticide in world, an active ingredient of a herbicide marketed by Monsanto since 1974 under name Roundup. The IARC verdict has come to contradict those of regulatory agencies such as EPA, US Environmental Protection Agency, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), which Had concluded that product was not dangerous.

READ ALSO: "Monsanto papers", disinformation organized around glyphosate

So confusion is total. For past two years, all proposals of European Commission have been rejected, to point that an interim reprobate measure, for eighteen months, had to be taken in summer of 2016, to get out of impasse. A few days before verdict, Italy, Austria and France announced that y would vote against reauthorization for ten years — Commission's only proposal today on table.

How could relicensing of a pesticide, which is usually a technical measure, have been able to turn, in two years, into rat race? How has she been able to begin Commission's authority at this point?

Failure of expertise

The worldwide investigation from internal documents of Monsanto firm, made public in United States as a result of a collective lawsuit of 3 500 complainants, provides many elements of response: it emerges that American giant of The agrochemicals has systematically sought to influence science market and to intervene in decisions of regulatory agencies. Monsanto deliberately mingled writings of its own collaborators with supposed independent expertise. The European agencies have, at same time, failed to produce scientific and technical expertise above suspicion.

READ ALSO: "Monsanto papers", agencies under influence of firm

There is an urgent need to confront this fundamental problem openly. Because case of glyphosate is not isolated. The failure of expertise, i.e. inability to establish facts independently, led European regulation on endocrine disruptors (se dangerous substances, capable of interfering with hormonal system) at a Similar confusion.

After years of battles and debates, on Wednesday, 4 October, European Parliament ruled against Commission's measures aimed at framing endocrine disrupters, adopted in pain in July by Member States. Also on this issue, European experts opposed or scientific authorities, who judged public health measures proposed by Commission to be too limited and not in conformity with state of ir knowledge. It is unacceptable that industrial giants, wher y are called Monsanto or Volkswagen, manipulate information at expense of public health. It is imperative that political actors take issue of need for independent scientific expertise and means to guarantee it.


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