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article image'Urinal 2016' test for glyphosate comes before E.U. vote

By Karen Graham     Apr 11, 2016 in Environment
About 150 members of the European Parliament (MEP) are handing over urine samples today and tomorrow to find out if they have glyphosate in their systems. The tests will still not stop the vote on glyphosate planned for Wednesday this week.
According to EcoWatch, the urine tests being done on the 150 or so members of the European Parliament are not much more than a pissing contest, perhaps to make some sort of a statement after a new YouGov poll came out showing that two-thirds of Europeans uphold a ban on glyphosates.
In the poll which covered over 7,000 citizens in a survey of the European Union's five biggest states, 75 percent of Italians, 70 percent of Germans, 60 percent of French and 56 percent of Britons said they opposed the use of glyphosate, according to the Guardian.
Regardless of the test results, the MEP vote on Wednesday is on the resolution passed by Parliament’s environment committee last month recommending that the relicensing of glyphosate, better known as Roundup, be postponed until an independent review is done into it being a possible carcinogen, according to the Farmers Journal.
The Farmers Journal also says farm lobby groups are backing a scientific approach to any decision to renew glyphosate rather than resorting to political motives, and this certainly makes sense to the majority of citizens polled recently. But regardless of any opinions or facts, the vote on Wednesday is part of the political process and the final decision rests with the commission.
However, the commission does say that if the renewal of glyphosate's license is not accepted by the majority of MEPs, then it (the commission) "will not bring the reauthorization of glyphosate to a conclusion." The current license for glyphosate is due to expire at the end of June 2016. There is still the EU Standing Plant Animal Food and Feed (PAFF) Committee meeting that will be held on May 18-19, and the relicensing of glyphosate is sure to be brought up again, though.
Glyphosate, one of the world's best-selling pesticides is made by Monsanto, Dow, and Syngenta, but there is divided scientific opinion over the chemical's safety. One problem that has come up is the reliability of test results, especially when they are dependent on who produced them, an agri-company or an independent laboratory. But even more recently, questions have been raised over the co-formulants in the glyphosate-based pesticides.
Apparently, in testing the safety of glyphosate, co-formulants, used to increase the uptake of glyphosate, were not tested along with the main ingredient. Some of the co-formulants have been found to be very toxic. The Netherlands wants a complete ban on the chemical until at least 2017 so that a complete analysis of the product can be done.
Perhaps the recent poll will add momentum to environmental opponents. So far, 11 of the EU's 28 member states are now thought to back the banning of glyphosate. Digital Journal will be watching the vote very carefully.
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