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Key Glyphosate Hearing to Take Place in Heated Atmosphere

The European Parliament’s environment and agriculture committees are holding on Wednesday (11 October) a highly anticipated public hearing on the so-called “Monsanto papers” and glyphosate, which is expected to further heat up the debate on the controversial chemical substance.

Political group leaders in the European Parliament decided on 28 September to deny Monsanto’s lobbyists the right to enter the assembly’s buildings because of the company’s refusal to appear before the assembly.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have given the green light to the chemical, saying it is “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans from exposure through the diet”.

This decision is in stark contrast to a separate assessment by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which pointed out that the herbicide solution was “probably carcinogenic to humans”.

EU Commissioner for Health Vytenis Andriukaitis recently told EURACTIV.com that it was sometimes strange that those people who argue against glyphosate should focus only on the IARC findings. “Sometimes they also disseminate the message that the EU does not take into account the IARC’s monograph [on glyphosate],” he said, adding that this was far from reality.

Several hundreds of cancer patients in the US have sued Monsanto, blaming the company for having failed to warn users about the risk of cancer associated with the weed-killer Roundup products.

Dr Christopher Portier, a leading toxicologist and environmental engineer, was called as an expert witness by the plaintiff’s attorneys to scientifically back claims that glyphosate is carcinogenic.

Dr Portier, who will be one of the key witnesses at the hearing, has sent several letters to Commissioner Andriukaitis and to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), arguing against glyphosate.

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