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Glyphosate/2. Reactions to the yes of Italy to the extension for ten years

Greenpeace asks the Government to reconsider. Satisfaction instead from Pan Europe and Isde Italy

"Italy’s vote in favour is paradoxical". This is how Greenpeace expresses itself with regard to the taking of positions by the Italian Government which, in Brussels, voted in favour of extending the use of glyphosate for ten years. "In our country there is a protest against wheat imports from Canada because it contains glyphosate residues, but at the same time the Government votes yes to renewal to spray our fields with this dangerous pesticide -explains Federica Ferrario, Greenpeace Italia-. We call on the Italian government to reconsider and prevent further authorisation of glyphosate in the EU, as it had already done at the previous renewal in 2017". 

Satisfaction for the outcome (or the non-action, better) of the vote, which in fact still blocks an approval that is taken for granted by many, comes from Pan Europe (Pesticide action network) and Isde Italia, the Association of Doctors for the Environment. Both expressed satisfaction for a vote "that respects the concern of citizens". 

A recent Ipsos poll conducted in six EU countries (Denmark, France, Germany, Poland, Romania and Spain), the Isde points out, showed that only 14% of citizens are in favour of prolonged use of glyphosate: almost two thirds of respondents, 62% support a ban on pesticide. In Italy, 75,000 people signed a Greenpeace petition asking the government to vote no to the renewal and delivered in recent days to the Ministry of Health: an appeal that, however, was ignored by representatives of the Meloni Government.

According to Gergely Simon, senior policy officer at Pan Europe, today’s vote is "an important signal" because, he says, "it responds to the concerns of the majority of Europeans about the impact of pesticides on health and the environment. A wide range of independent scientists have expressed their concerns and their studies show serious negative effects of the use of glyphosate. The new approval of glyphosate would violate the European law on pesticides, according to which health and the environment should take priority. In case of doubt, the precautionary principle must be invoked".

"Banning the use of glyphosate would facilitate the European transition towards more sustainable alternatives to synthetic herbicides -Ferrario stresses-. For example, integrating physical, mechanical, biological and ecological agricultural practices with the vast knowledge now available on cultivated plants and weeds". 

This is Pan Europe. "Alternatives to the use of this herbicide are already available" say experts citing the study "Weed management: alternatives to the use of glyphosate" published last March. the report describes the new methodologies used by organic farmers, implemented by integrating "the physical, mechanical, biological and ecological agricultural practices with the extensive knowledge acquired on the biological and ecological characteristics of cultivated plants and weeds".

Greenpeace points out that glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide worldwide and in Europe, and in Italy it is one of the main causes of contamination of water: while it is still uncertain whether it is carcinogenic for people, the negative impacts on the environment have long been documented, starting with the risks to aquatic organisms. Pesticide-free agriculture would avoid increasing resistance in weeds and reduce soil erosion and protect biodiversity.

"The proposal for renewal is based on an imperfect and incomplete evaluation process -Greenpeace points out in a statement- to the point that Efsa itself, the European Food Safety Agency has recognised the existence of open points and partial assessments due to the lack of data on co-formulants, namely additives added to glyphosate in the different commercial formulations for sale, and the impact of glyphosate on the biodiversity, neurotoxicity and health of the microbiome". 

"From bees to fish, from amphibians to birds, to plants and algae - underlines the environmental organization - exposure to glyphosate and its commercial formulations has been linked to negative effects that can affect populations and biodiversity". Meanwhile, the date of 25 October is expected when the first data of the global multi-institutional study on the carcinogenicity of glyphosate will be presented in Bologna at the international scientific conference "Environment, work and health in the 21st century: strategies and solutions for a global crisis", promoted by the Ramazzini institute.

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EFA News - European Food Agency