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EU nations refuse to back limited licence for potentially cancercausing weedkiller

Scores of potentially carcinogenic weedkillers remain for sale across UK and Europe despite European Union nations refusing to back a limited extension of pesticide glyphosate’s licence for use.

A compromise proposal to renew the licence for glyphosate for 12-18 months yesterday failed to win support at the EU executive. Support of 65% was required, but reports said seven states abstained, 20 backed the proposal and one voted against.

Two earlier meetings in 2016 failed to extend the licence for up to 15 years, which led to the compromise and much shorter period being offered.

There are contradictory findings on the carcinogenic risks of glyphosate, which is a component of weedkillers commonly sold by UK and European retailers, which has placed it amid the scrutiny of EU and US politicians, regulators, researchers and consumer groups.

The EU executive hopes a pending study by the EU’s Agency for Chemical Products will allay concerns. European commissioners are due to disucss the matter again today.

The current EU licence for glyphosate expires 30 June.

In the absence of a majority decision, the EU executive could submit its proposal to an appeal committee of political representatives from member states within a month.

If there was again no verdict reached, the European Commission could adopt its own proposal.

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