Urgent call by Party for the Animals in Europe: Take glyphosate off the market!
This month, MEP Anja Hazekamp of the Dutch Party for the Animals submitted an urgent appeal to the European Commission to ban the agricultural toxin glyphosate as soon as possible. Hazekamp submitted her appeal even before the Brussels premiere showing of the documentary Into the Weeds on the disastrous consequences of glyphosate for our health and the environment and the lawsuit won against Monsanto by former groundskeeper Dewayne ‘Lee’ Johnson. This year, the European Union will decide whether or not to renew the licence approving the use of this hazardous agricultural toxin.
Despite all the evidence that glyphosate is hazardous to human and animal health and the environment, it is still the most widely used agricultural toxin in the world – with far-reaching consequences, as shown by research and the documentary. Reports have shown that 80% of all Europeans have glyphosate in their urine. Although it can impair fertility and is demonstrably carcinogenic, it still is widely used as a herbicide (i.e. on crops from which breakfast cereals are produced).
The documentary Into the Weeds tells the story of former California groundskeeper Dewayne Lee Johnson, who developed cancer after working intensively with glyphosate. US judges ruled in 2018 and 2020 that Johnson’s cancer was indeed caused by glyphosate. They also ruled that glyphosate producer Monsanto (now taken over by Bayer) was guilty of negligence when marketing a hazardous product without warning people that glyphosate could cause cancer. Johnson attended the Brussels premiere and post-screening of Into the Weeds in person, along with filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal.
“It is shocking to see how sick Johnson has become from this agricultural toxin, and he is certainly not the only one. Nearly 100,000 similar lawsuits in all have been filed in America, with Monsanto paying victims a total of 11 billion dollars in settlements,” confirms Party for the Animals MEP Anja Hazekamp. “I am concerned about the health of farmers and residents of rural areas who, like Johnson, come into intensive contact with glyphosate. Glyphosate can also be found in abundance in non-rural areas – on our food, for example.” To draw attention to the ubiquity of the toxic substance, a group of MEPs had already taken a urine test several years ago. Glyphosate was detected in all participants – and as much as 17 times the European standard for glyphosate residues in drinking water.
The next few months will be crucial, according to Anja Hazekamp. “Before the end of this year, the European Commission will take a long-term decision concerning glyphosate. I hope the European Commission will take note of the facts presented in this documentary, and lodge an urgent appeal with the European Commissioner to ban this dangerous agricultural toxin from our food, the environment and our surroundings as soon as possible.”
The current EU licence for glyphosate runs until 15 December 2023, although it had actually expired in 2022. A resolution had, in fact, already been passed by the European Parliament in 2017 calling on the European Commission to completely ban glyphosate within five years. Nevertheless, as more time would be needed to complete the European risk assessment, the European Commission extended this licence for another year last December. The Party for the Animals has consistently objected to renewals and new approvals of glyphosate and other dangerous toxins, and will continue to do so as long as this is necessary.