European lawmakers will be given access to scientific studies involving glyphosate, the active ingredient in the widely used weed killer Roundup, an E.U. court ruled. The studies were used by the European Food and Safety Agency in order to approve the use of glyphosate, but the agency refused to share the studies with lawmakers over concerns that doing so could harm the commercial interests of companies.
The safety of glyphosate has been in question around the world for years. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2015 classified the chemical as a probable carcinogen. Last August, in the United States, a California jury awarded a school groundskeeper $289 million after finding that his exposure to glyphosate in Monsanto’s Roundup and Ranger Pro herbicides contributed to his non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
A petition circulated throughout the E.U. called on the European Food and Safety Agency to be more transparent about its decision to approve the use of glyphosate. But the agency never did. Thus, four E.U. lawmakers from Finland, Hungary, France and Belgium filed a lawsuit in May 2017 against the European Food Safety Authority asking for more transparency.
Currently, the use of glyphosate varies across the E.U. In October 2017, the European Parliament voted to ban glyphosate by 2022, but the executive branch voted shortly after to extend the license for another five years. Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cypress, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg and Malta voted against the extension. Germany and the Czech Republic have limited the use.