The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)'s Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) on March 15 agreed to maintain the current harmonised classification of glyphosate as a substance causing serious eye damage and being toxic to aquatic life with long-lasting effects, but concluded that the available scientific evidence did not meet the criteria to classify glyphosate as a carcinogen, as a mutagen or as toxic for reproduction.
RAC assessed glyphosate’s hazardousness against the criteria in the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation. They considered extensive scientific data in coming to their opinion.
The committee concluded that the scientific evidence available at the moment warrants the following classifications for glyphosate according to the CLP Regulation:
Eye Damage 1; H318 (Causes serious eye damage)
Aquatic Chronic 2; H411 (Toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects)
RAC concluded that the available scientific evidence did not meet the criteria in the CLP Regulation to classify glyphosate for specific target organ toxicity, or as a carcinogen, as a mutagen or for reproductive toxicity.
The hazard classes for which classification was proposed by the German competent authority were specific target organ toxicity (repeated exposure) (category 2), eye damage/irritation (category 1), and toxicity to the aquatic environment (Aquatic Chronic 2). ECHA also assessed other hazard classes including carcinogenicity, germ cell mutagenicity and reproductive toxicity.
The adopted opinion will go through a normal editorial check before it is sent to the European Commission. The opinion will also be made available on ECHA’s website at the same time.
The adopted opinion on the harmonised classification for glyphosate will be taken into account when the commission and member states consider whether to renew the approval to use glyphosate as an active substance in pesticides, later this year.
Apart from the published studies on glyphosate, the committee also had full access to the original reports of studies conducted by industry. RAC has assessed all the scientific data, including any scientifically relevant information received during the public consultation in summer 2016.
RAC had a first discussion on glyphosate with stakeholders at its 39th meeting in December 2016.
RAC provides an independent scientific opinion on the hazard classification of the substance. The classification is based solely on the hazardous properties of the substance. It does not take into account the likelihood of exposure to the substance and therefore does not address the risks of exposure. The risks posed by exposure are considered for example when deciding whether to renew the approval of glyphosate as a pesticide in accordance with the EU’s Plant Protection Product Regulation (Regulation (EC) N° 1107/2009).