The coalition, founded in 2015, is a network of organizations and institutions all across Europe which supports banning the active substance glyphosate from the European market.
Back in 2017, the coalition organized a number of actions targeting the European Commission and the Member States asking for a ban, one of which was a European Citizen Initiative asking for a glyphosate ban. The hugely successful ECI received a total of 1,320,517 signatures having been collected from all across Europe.
However, the authorities agreed on its use for another 5 years. Now Bayer and other chemical companies want to renew the utilisation of glyphosate in the European market. Thus, in December 2023, the EU will decide on the re-authorisation of glyphosate. The Stop Glyphosate Coalition is, thus, coming together once again, with the same objective: to convince the European Union to ban glyphosate, once and for all and protect the environment and human health.
The circumstances however are different compared to 2017. This time, more than ever, there is abundant scientific evidence that glyphosate can cause harm and, enough alternatives to end its use. Independent research points to its negative impacts on bees, soil health, aquatic life and biodiversity in general. Moreover, the widespread use of the herbicide poses a threat to human health caused by genotoxicity, disruption of the microbiome, potential neurotoxicity, liver damage and endocrine-disrupting properties.
Why banning glyphosate is essential?
1. Threats to human health
Glyphosate was first classified as a possible human carcinogen in 1985 by the US EPA. But after years of persistent interventions by Monsanto, the agency changed its classification in 1991 into „evidence of non-carcinogenicity“ although the evidence for carcinogenicity has been strengthened in the meantime. In 2015, it was the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health organization (WHO), that took a closer look at glyphosate that led to the classification as a probable human carcinogen. Also, A link between glyphosate and cancer was subsequently also established by academic research in 2019 and by the French institute INSERM in 2021, while national regulatory agencies stick to their classification of glyphosate as non-carcinogenic all around the globe. A HEAL report published in June 2022 shows the scientific evidence proving that glyphosate is carcinogenic has so far been dismissed in the EU scientific assessment.This report closely examined the 11 rats and mice studies provided by pesticide companies in 2019 as part of the application dossier. In 10 out of 11 studies, tumours were observed with a link to glyphosate treatment.
Additionally, the public scientific literature also links glyphosate exposure to serious diseases. For example, in addition to its carcinogenicity potential, recent studies show that glyphosate and glyphosate products can be neurotoxic and may contribute to the development of Parkinson’s disease, may cause kidney disease and disrupt the human and animal microbiome. Maternal exposure to glyphosate has also been linked to spontaneous deliveries with shortened gestational length and abnormal development of reproductive organs in newborns.
2. Threats to the environment
Glyphosate’s impacts on the environment have been scientifically illustrated in multiple occurrences. Firstly, it was linked to chronic toxicity in aquatic species by the Risk Assessment Committee of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). Glyphosate is indeed classified as being toxic to aquatic life with long-lasting effects, some aquatic species, such as amphibians can be more sensitive to glyphosate and glyphosate products.
Secondly, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) identified risks to wild non-target terrestrial vertebrates following exposure to glyphosate-product (representative formulation).
Thirdly, independent science exposed that glyphosate and GBH products negatively affect the behaviours, growth, development, metabolic processes, and immune defense of different bee species. A 2021 meta-analytical review, stated that most bee species, including wild and solitary bee species, suffer significantly from negative effects when exposed to glyphosate. Therefore:
NGOs demand a ban on glyphosate as an active substance, precisely this should include the following urgent measures:
- A complete ban on glyphosate use on agricultural land and a general ban on glyphosate for non-agricultural uses (rails tracks, invasive species, urban areas, water banks etc).
- Zero tolerance for glyphosate residue in all food products including animal feed.
- Environmental Quality Standards for glyphosate should be set at a minimum of 0.1 μg/L for all European watercourses, regardless of whether they serve as drinking water sources or not.
- A ban on the export of glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides to third countries.