Calls for partial ban on glyphosate | Breast Cancer UK

Calls for partial ban on glyphosate

Published 9 Nov 2015

Breast Cancer UK has joined with a coalition of NGO’s to call for an immediate ban on the use of the herbicide glyphosate, pending ongoing EU assessments of the chemical. 

Glyphosate-based herbicides (weedkillers) are the world’s most abundantly used pesticides both in agriculture and domestically.

Recently, WHO listed glyphosate as a probable cause of cancer in humans[1]. Glyphosate is not currently listed as an endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC), despite evidence[2], which suggests it may interfere with oestrogen signalling that could lead to breast tumour formation and/or progression.  

The NGO coalition has called for a ban on the use of glyphosate where it results in the greatest public and worker exposure, either directly or through residues in food.[3] 

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is currently undertaking a safety assessment of the chemical and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is due to publish an opinion ahead of a routine review of the chemicals’ licence.  

It is then up to the European Commission and member states who will decide whether to re-authorise glyphosate next year.   

Breast Cancer UK will continue to support calls for a ban on the chemical especially where its use means that members of the public are routinely exposed.

Breast Cancer UK are also supporting scientific research into the impact of glyphosate on breast cells.



[1]Guyton, K. Z. et al., (2015). Carcinogenicity of tetrachlorvinphos, parathion, malathion, diazinon, and glyphosate. Lancet Oncology, published online March 20, 2015. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(15)70134-8.

[2] Hokanson et al., (2007). Human and Experimental Toxicology 26(9):747-745.   Thongprakaisang et al., (2013). Food and Chemical Toxicology 59:129-136

[3] This demand has already been made by the Alliance for Cancer Prevention, Friends of the Earth Europe, Greenpeace, Health and Environment Alliance and Pesticide Action Network in a letter of 7 April 2015. 

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