EPA Failings Leave New Zealand Vulnerable to Toxicity of Common Herbicide

A new report on the health risks of glyphosate-based herbicides highlights major flaws in the integrity of regulations vital to the protection of New Zealand.

The report released by Steffan Browning of the Green Party, reexamines the findings of a glyphosate review prepared by Dr Wayne Temple, for the NZ Environmental Protection Authority.

The report is chilling as it exposes the narrow scope of the EPA safety review that drew on assessments by international regulators with close ties to the applicant (Monsanto). The review also ignored independent peer reviewed publications, when assessing the toxicity of the probable carcinogen glyphosate. Instead the Chief scientist stated that when used as directed on the label and taking into account the economic cost of food, if glyphosate was not used, they declared it safe.

The most unsettling revelation relating to the EPA is its reliance on a small sample of “ghost written” research that excludes recent independent research and actively seeks to deny the classification, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), of glyphosate as a 2A (probable) carcinogen.

“This is a serious threat to health if our food is laden with carcinogenic pesticides just for the sake of “cheap food”, said Claire Bleakley president of GE Free NZ.

“The public relies on bodies such as the EPA to ensure that the most recent best science is used to evaluate the safety of pesticides. It is a serious failing of the EPA assessment to rely on poor quality “ghost written” data”.

As an outcome, the people of New Zealand are not being protected from the possible long-term effects of the most widely used herbicide in the country.

THE EPA also works with the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) to set the maximum residue levels of chemicals in food. The repeated official denial of harm from glyphosate-based herbicides has allowed a 200% increase of glyphosate levels since the introduction of GE foods entering the food chain.

GE-Free NZ supports the new report’s call for a full independent inquiry into the NZ EPA and MPI decision-making process. An investigation is vital in order to address major failings that put at risk the health of the community and the environment.

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