After a regulatory stalemate among member states, the European Commission voted to allow the continued use of glyphosate, a chemical herbicide used as the active ingredient in Roundup, to be sold until 2033. Individual countries can opt to ban the ingredient; however, on the whole, the EU will allow its use on crops and for industrial vegetation management (IVM).
Glyphosate is the world’s most widely used herbicide. Over the years, concerns pertaining to the chemical’s safety for use on food crops, as well as its possible environmental impact, have arisen. Some studies point to a link between glyphosate and certain cancers, while other studies suggest that the way in which it is used should not harm consumers.
The European Food Safety Authority has recently concluded an assessment of an estimated 2,400 studies about the compound and released results in July 2023, stating that it “did not identify critical areas of concern” toward the health of humans and animals or the environment with regard to glyphosate.
In 2022, the European Chemicals Agency concluded that glyphosate did not meet the scientific criteria to be classified as a chemical that is carcinogenic, can cause changes in DNA, or is harmful to fertility or the health of offspring. However, the organization maintained its warnings that the product can cause serious eye damage and is toxic to aquatic life. Others indicate that chemical alternatives to glyphosate could expose users to the same or even higher levels of toxicity.
The allowance of continued marketing of glyphosate in Europe bodes well for the many companies that supply this herbicide for both crop and non-crop applications. IVM relies heavily on glyphosate-based herbicides in end uses such as forestry, rangeland, pastureland, railroads, roadways, electric utilities, and pipelines.
In Kline’s recently published Industrial Vegetation Management U.S. study, glyphosate accounts for over 15% of the value and over 30% of the total volume of IVM chemicals sold in the United States. Kline will be expanding the geographic scope of its Industrial Vegetation Management research with the coverage of Mexico and Brazil in 2024. For more details, contact us.