Over 1mn sign petition to ban Monsanto’s weed killer in EU over cancer fears

Over 1mn sign petition to ban Monsanto’s weed killer in EU over cancer fears
More than a million people have signed a petition demanding that the European Union ban glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer, over fears it causes cancer.

“In less than five months, more than one million EU citizens have joined our call for a glyphosate ban,” said David Schwartz, coordinator at the European Citizens Initiative, which is behind the petition, as quoted by AFP.

“European citizens aren’t fooled by the pesticide industry’s lobbying efforts or the faulty science it’s peddling,” he said.

The group said it achieved the minimum number of signatures required to receive a formal response from the European Commission – 1 million names from at least seven countries – in record time.

Environmental organization Greenpeace said the five-month campaign was the “fastest growing… since the EU introduced this [petition] tool in 2012.”

“Our politicians need to hear this message loud and clear,” Schwartz said.

The EU is currently mulling whether to renew the license for the controversial herbicide produced by Monsanto and is set to formally decide on the matter in December.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) ruled in March that glyphosate should not be classed as a carcinogen, stating that it does not “meet the criteria.”

That ruling came after the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) arrived at a similar conclusion in 2015, stating that glyphosate is “unlikely” to pose a carcinogenic threat to humans.

However, both rulings have been challenged by scientists, environmental groups and members of the European Parliament, who have pointed to evidence from the World Health Organization (WHO) that glyphosate may cause cancer.

Just last month, leading US toxicologist Christopher Portier wrote a letter to EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, stating that both agencies failed to identify “significant cancer findings” when deciding not to classify the chemical as a carcinogenic, citing rodent studies.

READ MORE: ‘Taking back our food sovereignty’: Protesters worldwide join March Against Monsanto (PHOTOS)

“I found eight significant increases in tumor incidence that do not appear in any of the publications or government evaluations presented by both EFSA and ECHA,” he wrote at the time.

Glyphosate is one of the world’s most heavily used weed killers, and was registered in over 130 countries as of 2010, according to data from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

READ MORE: Monsanto attempt to block glyphosate from California cancer list tossed by judge

If the chemical were to be banned by the European Union, Monsanto could suffer up to $100 million in lost profits, according to analysts cited by Reuters.

Russia may deploy Arctic radar station due to proximity of US nuclear subs

Russia may deploy Arctic radar station due to proximity of US nuclear subs
Moscow is considering the deployment of additional elements of the early warning system, including a radar station in its Arctic territory, said Viktor Ozerov, the head of the Russian Federal Assembly’s Defense Committee.

“The early warning system has already been built, but I think that its additional elements should be deployed there [in the Arctic],” Ozerov told RIA Novosti.

The senator said he was talking about a radar station as well as ground, air and space surveillance systems.

Ozerov addressed the issue after Russian President Vladimir Putin said during his Q&A session earlier Thursday that Russia must have a warning system in the Arctic due to the presence of US nuclear submarines in the area.

The Arctic “is an extremely important region in terms of ensuring the country’s defense capability,” Putin said.

“Experts are aware of the fact that American nuclear submarines are stationed in northern Norway. The fly-in time of missiles to Moscow is 15 minutes. We have to understand what happens there [in the Arctic], to see what happens there. We have to properly protect this shoreline, provide border security.”

“We have to remember that the route of the surface-launched missiles, based on the territory of the US, goes over the North Pole,” the president added.

Putin also said that the region “will provide for the future” of the Russian state, saying that “around 30 percent of hydrocarbons will be extracted in the Arctic by 2050.”

It’s economic and strategic potential explains the fact that “even non-region states are showing interest” in the Arctic, he said.

REAd MORE: Russia lays down icebreaker patrol boat to bolster Navy’s Arctic presence (VIDEO)

“It’s good. We’re ready to cooperate with them, but we must ensure the priority position for ourselves,” the President explained.

Exploration of the Arctic and protection of the northern frontiers have become one of the priorities for the Russian government and military in recent years.

Putin ordered constant naval military presence in the Arctic back in 2013, with Defense Ministry presenting a major plan to cover Russia’s northern borders with a network of military bases and radar stations a year later.

READ MORE: Arctic Shamrock: Russian MoD offers interactive 360° tour of unique military base (PHOTOS)

Russia also held major exercises to test its readiness to counter challenges in the country’s north and particularly in the Arctic, involving about thousands of troops as we as dozens of warships, submarines and aircraft.

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