The question of the health risks posed by glyphosate, the best-selling herbicide in the world, greatly divides experts. Two sounds of bells separate on one side. a majority of scientists and on the other the EU bodies responsible for subjects relating to security of the environment. food and chemicals.
On the side Among scientists, there is a fairly broad consensus considering that glyphosate is a dangerous product. Unlike In addition to other substances, there are now a large number of studies on glyphosate that provide more information. For example, in 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) attached to à WHO classifies it as a probable carcinogen.
He was also proven, in a study by Inserm (National Institute of Health and Medical Research) dating from 2021, that exposure to glyphosate potentially increases the risks of Being affected by non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (a type of blood cancer) for farmers who are exposed to it. Tests carried out in various animal species have provided the same results.
Health risks and for the environment
In an interview delivered to Mediapart in September 2023, the toxicologist and pesticide specialist at the National Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (INRAE) Laurence Huc discusses studies carried out by the United States National Library of Medicine (library specialized in medicine based in the United States). The first, an epidemiological meta-analysis from 2019 based on all available data on farmer populations highlights that the risk of ;developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma would be increased by 40%. She also mentions another study, this time a pooled analysis of more than 3 million subjects, tending to show that the risk of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma increases by 36% in the event of exposure to glyphosate.
In addition to the cancer risks brought by exposure to This herbicide, IARC considers that there is convincing evidence that glyphosate is a genotoxic substance, that is to say that it could alter the DNA of #39;living beings. A shared result by other studies.
Although not officially recognized as such by the European Union, scientists recognize glyphosate as an endocrine disruptor, a substance with harmful effects on fertility. Still according to Ms. Huc, glyphosate would also be neurotoxic, that is to say harmful to the nervous system.
Humanity is not the only one concerned by the risks of glyphosate. It is also a dangerous product for the environment. Its effects would be very broad and concern both the quality and the quality of the material. water and air as well as the richness of the soil.
EU presents its own results
Scientific results that struggle to be implemented find a place in the institutions of the European Union. But two agencies are responsible for the subject for the EU: Efsa (the European Food Safety Authority) and ECHA (the #39;European Chemicals Agency). These two agencies operate similarly in establishing their decision.
First of all, they are free to choose the studies on which they base their renderings. The selection criteria put forward are in particular the relevance of the studies and also those in accordance with the requirements. the “good laboratory practices” certification, a standard dating from the 1970s. A label that is however expensive and excludes certain aspects of research. Criteria that encourage the vast majority researchers at turn away from it.
It is also worth mentioning the potential existence of a conflict of interest present in such a matter. Indeed, according to Laurence Huc, Efsa would be more willing to do so. consider the studies carried out by manufacturers who conduct their own research, with some biases. Elements which explain Efsa's decision to declare that the impact of glyphosate was not "a critical concern" therefore leading to the possibility of for the EU to renew its use.
However, in 2019, the American researcher Charles Benbrook published an analysis, based on all the research carried out on the links between glyphosate and genotoxicity, arriving at the conclusion that by excluding research suspected of conflict of interest, 75% of studies establish the genotoxicity of the drug. glyphosate.