Glyphosate does not have endocrine disrupting properties, EFSA concludes

Agricultural giant Monsanto is the major supplier of products containing glyphosate
Agricultural giant Monsanto is the major supplier of products containing glyphosate

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has concluded that the world's most used pesticide, glyphosate, does not have endocrine disrupting properties.

The food safety body's assessment, published on 7 September, found there is no evidence that glyphosate is having a harmful effect on human hormone systems.

EFSA was requested by the European Commission in 2016 to consider information on potential endocrine activity of the pesticide.

The report said: "The current assessment concluded that the weight of evidence indicates that glyphosate does not have endocrine disrupting properties through oestrogen, androgen, thyroid or steroidogenesis mode of action based on a comprehensive database available in the toxicology area."

The result is also in line with the US Environment Protection Agency, who reached the same conclusion in June 2015.

However, several studies have previously come to the opposite conclusion.

It led France to vote against the renewal of an EU Commission license for the pesticide glyphosate.

Bitter row

Glyphosate is an active substance in the production of herbicides, and has been used by the majority of British farmers for weed control over the past 40 years.

In November 2015, the European Food Safety Authority concluded that glyphosate is “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans.”

But a bitter transatlantic row over possible risks to human health has prompted investigations by congressional committees in the U.S. and in Europe.

UK farming unions have been active on this issue, and have said they will continue to work to ensure the facts about glyphosate’s safety and its importance are 'fully understood' in the run up to the European Commission confirming its decision on the licence.

The European Commission will propose extending by 10 years its approval of glyphosate.