Cancer Expert: EU Studies on Glyphosate Are 'Scientifically Flawed'
Dr. Christopher Portier, a toxicologist and former director of the U.S. National Center for Environmental Health, has criticized the conclusions of European Union agencies which found that glyphosate—the active ingredient in Monsanto's widely used weedkiller Roundup—is not carcinogenic to humans.
In a May 28 letter to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, Portier claims that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) failed to include in their assessments eight instances of "significant increases in tumor response" in rodents that were tested for cancer after exposure to the herbicide.
"This suggests that the evaluations applied to the glyphosate data are scientifically flawed, and any decisions derived from these evaluations will fail to protect public health," the cancer expert wrote.
Portier noted that the International Agency for Research on Cancer Monographs Program classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans."
He also expressed concern that the EFSA inadequately evaluated glyphosate's effects on reproductive toxicity and endocrine disruption.
"Since the industry-supported scientific evidence is not available to external scientists, I am unable to evaluate these data and determine if there are positive findings that escaped detection," he wrote. "I encourage you to release these data for external analysis and review as well."
Two weeks ago, the European Commission announced it was proposing a 10-year extension to its approval of glyphosate, citing the ECHA study.
Portier requests that both EFSA and ECHA review the evidence he submitted. He urges Juncker to refrain from "making any decisions on glyphosate until these positive findings are included."
Anca Paduraru, a spokesperson for the Juncker, told Euractiv that the commission will ask the agencies to respond to the letter.
"Given that the majority of the problems raised by the letter are related to the scientific evaluation of glyphosate, the commission will ask EFSA and ECHA to respond," Paduraru said, adding that the commission currently has no reason to doubt the evaluation of the EU agencies.
Monsanto, the maker of the glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup, filed a motion June 16 in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California to reconsider the chemical's addition to California's Proposition 65 list of agents known to cause cancer.
The agrochemical giant made this move based on a June 14 Reuters investigation of Dr. Aaron Blair, a lead researcher on the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) committee, that classified glyphosate as a "2A probable human carcinogen" in March 2015.
By Avery Friedman
Algae is often considered a nuisance, but for Sweden, the rapidly growing sea plant is now an asset.
As the Scandinavian country works to cut all of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, it's using algae to sop up the carbon emissions from cement.
By Itai Vardi
A recent intensification in protests against Williams Partners' planned Atlantic Sunrise pipeline in Pennsylvania prompted a state senator to propose legislation aimed at limiting demonstrations.
Last month, Pennsylvania Sen. Scott Martin (R-Norman) announced his intention to introduce legislation that would pass the costs of law enforcement responding to protests onto the demonstrators. Martin also helped introduce a different bill that would criminalize protests at natural gas facilities.
The so-called "first and last mile" problem is one of the biggest hurdles with public transportation. How do you encourage more people to take Earth-friendlier commutes when their homes are miles away from the train or bus station?
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[Editor's note: I'm still in shock after hearing the news that Lucia Grenna passed away in her sleep last week. When we first met in April of 2014 at a Copenhagen hotel, I was immediately taken by here powerful presence. We spent the next couple days participating in a Sustainia climate change event where Lucia presented her audacious plans to connect people to the climate issue. I had the chance to partner with Lucia on several other projects throughout the years and work with her incredible Connect4Climate team. I was always in awe of her ability to "make the impossible possible." Her spirit will live on forever. — Stefanie Spear]
It is with a heavy heart that Connect4Climate announces the passing of its founder and leading light, Lucia Grenna. Lucia passed peacefully in her sleep on June 15, well before her time. We remember her for her leadership and extraordinary ability to motivate people to take on some of the greatest challenges of our time, not least climate change.
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As Trevor Noah noted during The Daily Show episode last night (starts at 2:25), the real reason Trump has these rallies is to "get back in front of his loyal crowds and feed of their energy." Noah believes that "Trump supporters are so on board with their dude he can say anything and they'll come along for the ride."