Green MEPs 'pissed off'

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The Green Group of the European Parliament organized urine tests for the herbicide glyphosate on 48 volunteer MEPs. 

Our foodstuffs are inescapably contaminated Our foodstuffs are inescapably contaminated Photo: Vivian Grisogono

The results were announced in a Press Release on May 12th 2016.

Glyphosate showed up in all the samples. Shocking, but not surprising to those who know how widespread the use of glyphosate is.

The average contamination was 1.7 micrograms/litre, which is 17 times higher than the norm for European drinking water. The Croatian MEP tested had the third highest reading of urine glyphosate at 2.46 μg/L, with a Lithuania MEP showing the greatest concetration (2.84 μg/L), followed by a Hungarian MEP with 2.63 μg/L

Perhaps taking the lead from Eco Hvar's article in Total Croatia News entitled 'EU taking the piss', the Green Group announced they were 'pissed off that our governments want to allow this poison for another nine years! No politician should have this in his or her body, and not a single citizen either!'

The Press Release described the multitude of problems associated with glyphosate use, and the alternative techniques which would be safer and better for the environment and human health.

Sadly, the Green Group recognized that the European Commission was resolutely set on driving through renewed approval for glyphosate use in Europe, despite opposition from the informed public and some governments: “in its latest proposal that will be voted next week (19th May) the Commission ploughs ahead with a full-fledged approval of glyphosate's license for nine years. It considers only symbolically if at all the European Parliament's resolution calling for a very limited scope of approval. Responsibility for the protection of operators and for multiple risks is discharged onto Member States in a non-legally binding manner.” The EC had already ridden rough-shod over the Environment Committee's call for a ban on the poison.

To add insult to injury, in advance of a further vote on re-approving glyphosate, yet another supposedly reassuring statement was produced by the United Nations Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR), designed to fool the unwary into thinking that those opposed to glyphosate are simply scaremongering. Experts from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization concluded that glyphosate was “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans from exposure through the diet”. Yet another diversionary tactic designed to lull people into a false sense of security. The statement was publicized just a few days in advance of the further vote in the European Parliament.

It is hard to see the point of having such votes. Parliamentarians recommended a ban and several precautionary measures. Their receommendations were ignored, and they were asked to vote on a seven-year re-approval term, which was passed. Yet the next vote was asking for a nine-year approval. It would be the stuff of farce if teh consequences were not so tragic.

It is not the first time that poisons have been approved by the EC in defiance of opposition from governments, scientists and the public. Evidently proof of unacceptable risks cuts no ice with them. The European Parliament is sorely lacking in power, and its democratic processes are in total disarray. So it's down to individual governments and individual food producers and consumers to try to redress the balance as best they can. A stiff challenge - but everything is possible.

© Vivian Grisogono 2016 

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