Scientists at the European Food Safety Authority or EFSA are saying that weedkiller glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer in human beings. In addition, the European agency has also proposed limits on the quantity of the weedkiller’s residue deemed safe for consumption. For those who don’t know: right now, glyphosate is one of the most widely used weedkillers.
The suggestions made by the EFSA might force the 28 member panel at the European Union to renew the authorization for glyphosate. For those who don’t know: this weedkiller was first introduced by Monsanto way back during the 1970s. Monsanto uses this agent in its bestselling product Roundup. In addition, the weedkiller is used in a range of other herbicides available in different parts of the globe.
Environmental groups started demanding a ban on glyphosate after the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer), a unit of the World Health Organization, in an announcement made in March, 2015 stated that this weedkiller might be carcinogenic to human beings.
Following the above announcement, a campaign group came up with a petition signed by as many as 1.4 million people. Through the said petition, the group called on the European Union to suspend the approval of glyphosate pending further evaluation.
To find out whether glyphosate is actually carcinogenic to humans, the EFSA conducted a thorough investigation. Jose Tarazona, the head of the Parma, Italy-based pesticides unit of the European agency, said that the investigation has truly been exhaustive. Tarazona added that experts conducting the investigation analyzed a huge collection of new data and studies and have come to the conclusion that it’s unlikely that the substance is carcinogenic.
Even after stating that glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer in humans, the EFSA has proposed a maximum limit for safe daily dose of the weedkiller for long term use. According to the EFSA, one should not consume more than 0.5 mg of glyphosate for every 1 kg of his or her body weight.
The scientists at the European agency explained with a simple example. They said a person weighing 80 kg can eat food containing 40 mg glyphosate as residue every day. Monsanto, on the other hand, said that 40 mg of the substance can only be obtained from as much as 400 kg of vegetables or fruits.