Extra month is added to EPA’s call for glyphosate information

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has further extended its call for information on the herbicide glyphosate.

The current closing date had been tomorrow – Friday 24 September. This has been pushed out to 5pm Friday 22 October.

“We are conscious that some individuals or organisations which may wish to provide input will have had other priorities and pressures to manage due to the COVID-19 alert level changes,” says Dr Chris Hill, General Manager of the EPA’s Hazardous Substances group.

“To ensure these parties get an opportunity to have their say, we have extended the deadline by a month.”

Glyphosate has been used as a weed killer by home gardeners, farmers, and councils in New Zealand since the 1970s. Although it is commonly known as the active ingredient in Roundup, 89 mixtures containing glyphosate have been approved for use in this country.

The EPA monitors international developments and continually reviews global research on hazardous substances, including glyphosate, and says it has no evidence that risks associated with using glyphosate, or its hazardous nature, have changed.

But it believes  the time is right to take another look at this substance.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) are reviewing the classification and approval of glyphosate.  Their conclusions are set to be released in mid-2022.

It is issuing a call for information to build a greater understanding of how glyphosate-containing products are being used in New Zealand by the time the EU findings are published and to ensure it is better prepared to assess those findings.

Find out more and respond to the call for information
Read more about glyphosate

Source:  Environmental Protection Authority

EPA extends its call for information on the use of glyphosate

Hard on the heels of news that recent surveys by scientists have found half or more of arable farms and vineyards in some regions have weeds resistant to commonly used herbicides, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has extended its call for information on the herbicide glyphosate by four weeks.

The new deadline to respond is now 5 pm on Friday 24 September.

General Manager of Hazardous Substances and New Organisms, Dr Chris Hill, says the EPA wants to hear from more professional users and those involved in the supply of glyphosate.

“While we have had a good response from the public, we want to make sure importers, retailers, professional users and industry groups have had enough time to collate information and provide meaningful data. We have already received one request from a major industry group for an extension. The more information we receive the better informed we’ll be to decide what next steps to take.

“So far, professional users, industry organisations and suppliers have made up just over 40 percent of total respondents; the rest are members of the public. We have received 136 responses since we opened the call for information at the end of April.” Continue reading

European agency does not classify glyphosate as a carcinogen

The European Chemicals Agency’s Committee for Risk Assessment has agreed to maintain the current harmonised classification of glyphosate as a substance causing serious eye damage and being toxic to aquatic life with long-lasting effects.

But it concluded that the available scientific evidence did not meet the criteria to classify glyphosate as a carcinogen, as a mutagen or as toxic for reproduction.

The committee said it has assessed all the scientific data, including any scientifically relevant information received during the public consultation in summer 2016.

Its  classification is based solely on the hazardous properties of the substance. It does not take into account the likelihood of exposure to the substance and therefore does not address the risks of exposure.

The Science Media Centre has posted two expert opinions from Britain (HERE) on the ruling.

Prof Jan Hengstler, Head of the Department of Toxicology / Systems Toxicology, Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADO), TU Dortmund, Dortmund, comments:

“The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) Committee on Risk Assessment (RAC) has concluded that the substance glyphosate does not meet the criteria to be classified as a carcinogen, as a mutagen or as toxic for reproduction. This conclusion is scientifically justified. Both the available long-term studies in rats and mice as well as epidemiological data do not justify the conclusion that glyphosate is carcinogenic or mutagenic. Under current conditions of use of glyphosate there is no increased cancer risk for humans. Compared to other herbicides, a relatively large number of studies is available on the substance glyphosate, so that a comparatively good assessment with regard to the carcinogenic risk is possible. The conclusion of the ECHA is not surprising, since no new studies were available compared to earlier evaluations.”

Prof Alan Boobis, Professor of Biochemical Pharmacology, Imperial College London, comments:

“ECHA are to be congratulated on their critical evaluation of a large and complex dataset on glyphosate. They have concluded that the totality of the evidence is that glyphosate should not be considered a human carcinogen. It is important that such objective, independent and comprehensive assessments are available to help policy makers in reaching evidence-based decisions”