Alliance joins with EU organisations to call for serious discussion on the future of Glyphosate in the EU

In a follow up to a letter sent in April to the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Mr. Vytenis Andriukaitis, calling for the suspension of Glyphosate for public and professional use as a precautionary measure. The alliance has signed a subsequent letter initiated by Greenpeace and signed by Friends of the Earth Europe, the Health and Environment Alliance, and Pesticide Action Network Europe. The letter addresses our concerns regarding the scope of the EU Commission’s request to European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) regarding the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) findings on glyphosate.

Glyphosate is used in a large number of weedkillers and is the most commonly used weedkiller in the world. It is sold by the original manufacturer, Monsanto, as Roundup, although it is found in other brands such as Bayer, Rosate and Rodeo. It is also used in a lot of supermarket and garden centre own-brands.

Workers face particular risk due to frequent exposure. No workers should be put at risk of exposure to any substance that can lead to cancer. All substances that could be hazardous to health are covered by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH). These state that the employer must try to prevent exposure totally. If that is not possible they should control it so the risk of harm is ‘as low as is reasonably practicable’

Glyphosate is used widely in parks, gardens footpaths, railway line and in forestry in the UK. There is no requirement to notify the general public of spraying. The only evidence of spraying maybe dry and browning vegetation. This is real health issue to people and animals using public parks. Small children are especially at risk due to their close contact with the ground and their frequence hand to mouth gestures. Dogs are also at risk due to sniffing and eating grasses.

EFSA has been charged with doing a peer review of the findings by IARC on the potential carcinogenicity of glyphosate or glyphosate-containing plant protection products. The Commission requested EFSA to ‘ “investigate the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate raised by IARC” and whether an amendment to the original proposal in regard to the classification of glyphosate is neccesary.

The letter outlines our concerns that the scope of the request is too narrow and that establishing a ‘firm causality’ would be difficult when IARC itself classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” (Class 2A), not as “carcinogenic to humans” (Class 1). It has found “limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans” as well as “sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals”, but not “sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans”. We therefore believe that it is unrealistic to expect that EFSA will establish “a firm causality” between human exposure and the development of cancer when IARC did not.

The letter asks the Commission to revise the EFSA request. The signed letter

The Alliance has also joined 308 other organisations in an appeal calling for a ban on Highly Hazardous Pesticide (HHPs). Decades of experience has shown that, despite numerous ‘safe use’ programs, the ’safe use’ of highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs) is not possible.

People, farm animals, wildlife and the environment continue to suffer considerable harm from HHPs. After decades of failure which have seen millions of deaths worldwide, new policies are needed to stop pesticide poisonings. A progressive phase out and ban of HHPs, along with new policies for supporting alternatives, can make a change towards a healthy and sustainable world for all. We call on governments and corporations to take concrete steps towards a progressive ban of HHPs and their substitution with ecosystem-based alternatives.

Please sign the petition here.

The Trade Unions Congress is calling for union safety reps to ensure workers are not exposed to a cancer-causing pesticide. No workers should be put at risk of exposure to any substance that can lead to cancer. A new briefing says because of the unquestionable risks posed by glyphosate, which can also cause short- and long-term skin, eye and respiratory problems and serious liver and kidney damage, it is “necessary to try to prevent any workers coming into contact with glyphosate.”

A study in New York found evidence of cancer link with park spraying. But advice to spray yet more chemicals to clean children’s hands means more exposure to susbtances like antibacterials.

To find out how one company has control of so much of the worlds food supply check out this great video from The Undercurrent.

The best solution – avoid pesticide usage altogether.

NGO call for EDCs to be excluded from TTIP negotiations

The ACP has joined with twenty seven NGOs in sending a joint letter to Bernd Lange MEP chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade (INTA). The committee will vote on the 28th May on whether chemicals will be included or excluded from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership TTIP. We are seriously concerned that TTIP could weaken current public health and environment standards for toxic chemicals and impede the development of new standards.

The joint letter calls on the INTA to support the opinion of the ENVI Committee to exclude chemicals from the scope of TTIP, and to integrate this in their final resolution to be voted upon on 28 May 2015.

Only yesterday US Senate rejected the Fast Track Bill which would give President Obama Fast Track powers to rush TTIP through. Which is the first hurdle its progress through the US legislative process. News item here.

Joint Letter on TTIP and EDCs

If you expose us, we’ll expose you

The International Trade Union Confederation General Secretary Sharan Burrow pledged today that if you expose us, we’ll expose you. The pledge relates to the fact that most occupational cancer deaths could be prevented if measures to prevent them were not blocked, “a mixture of toxic marketing and regulatory failure has already condemned another generation to an early grave”.

Instead of action on prevention we are faced with “a toxic cocktail of denial and deceit that means more people than at any time in history will develop tumours caused by their job”.

It seems like manufactured doubt about hazards and risk factors win out: “a process of paralysis by analysis. Wherever stricter controls are proposed, industry representatives or their hired guns appear, challenging the science and predicting an economic catastrophe”.

The International Labour Organisation puts occupational cancer deaths at over 660,000/year. Womens cancer are largely ignored, compensation becomes a myth and corruption flourishes, people before profit becomes business as usual. Surely its time to get serious about occupational cancer in fact all preventable cancer linked to exposures. This pledge is in stark contrast to the statement of intent from our cancer task force – which completly ignores occupational cancer, or any cancer not thought to be ‘lifestyle ‘related.

Read the full ITUC pledge here:

Resources

New guide from the ITUC on Toxic work – stop deadly exposures today sets out why we want to remove toxic exposures from the workplace and how.

A new workplace cancer website, supported by the ITUC and produced by Hazards and the Alliance for Cancer Prevention. http://cancerhazards.org/

It provides all the latest news on occupational cancer, including emerging scientific evidence and union initiatives.

Find out more about activities on the 28th April International Workers Memorial Day #IWMD15

NGOs call for withdrawal of Glyphosate

The letter calls for a withdrawal of the use of glyphosate, as a precautionary measure, where potential for worker and public exposure is particularly high. Greenpeace European Unit, Pan Europe, the Health and Environment Alliance , Friends of the Earth Europe and the Alliance for Cancer Prevention  signed up to the letter to the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Mr. Vytenis Andriukaitis.

This is due to the fact that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the World Health Organisation’s cancer agency, has recently classified the pesticide glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” (Class 2A). This designation significantly alters the risk profile associated with the various uses of glyphosate. In the past glyphosate has also been linked with causing birth defects, reproductive and developmental abonormalities, DNA damage, and adverse effects to the immune system.

Glyphosate is the most commonly used herbicide in Europe and, together with its major metabolite AMPA, has been found in soils, waters, and in items of food. At present, however, there is no systematic surveillance monitoring in place to determine human exposure and any subsequent impacts upon human health. Ultimately, further assessment may indicate that more restrictions are necessary for other uses of glyphosate in agricultural production in order to protect agricultural workers, people in rural areas and consumers. Workers health is seriously put at risk during spraying.

Glyphosate is used to largely to prevent weeds which cause “trip hazards and physical damage to surfacing as well as block sightlines, trap litter and look unsightly”. But the ACP believes the public should be informed as to which they prefer, weeds or a potential cancer risk in their streets and parks.

There is no notification or signage required to alert the public if glyphosate has been sprayed – many local authorities use it because its not percieved as a treat to public health. This means park users specifically small children and dogs may inadvertently come into close contact with sprayed areas. Roundup is also sold in many garden centres around the UK for amateur use.

Seriously time to retire this harmful pesticide from all uses.

Letter can be seen here

Pan UK information on glyphosate.

 

 

 

 

International Workers Memorial Day 2015 #IWMD15

International Workers’ Memorial Day * Journée Internationale de Commémoration (JIC) des travailleurs décédés et blessés  * Jornada Internacional de Conmemoración (JIC) de los Trabajadores Fallecidos y Heridos

28th April 2015 is International Workers Memorial Day with an new website launched to capture all the acitivities and commenorations www.28april.org

Events this year will focus on prevention of the harm caused by toxic substances at work, with many trade union and occupational and environmental health campaign organisations worldwide putting an explicit focus on cancer prevention.

The 28 April campaign slogan is : “TOXIC WORK – STOP DEADLY EXPOSURES TODAY!”

Please share widely and get involved and dont forget to send details of your event to the website www.28april.org

The International Trade Union Confederation have put together a very useful booklet on Toxic Work: Stop Deadly Exposures Today!

You can download it here

Double trouble on relative risk for occupational diseases

A new report from Professor Andrew Watterson and Professor Rory O’Neill on the unjust state compensation schemes which means occupational diseases including breast cancer linked to shiftwork will never overcome an arbitrary double-the-risk qualification hurdle and call for reform of this ailing system.

How did this system get so unfair? Women almost miss out entirely. Breast cancer is the top occupational cancer for women directly linked to shift work yet it isn’t on the state prescribed disease list. Each year, according to HSE, around 2,000 women develop breast cancer as result of working shifts. Not one is compensated.The ACP and the Hazards Campaign drew attention to this ignoring of women’s breast cancer in particular when it staged a demo out a HSE meeting. We also maligned the HSE for making occupational breast cancer a much neglected gender issue.

The report makes the case for occupational cancer and exposes the fact that the UK is backwards on prevention and recognition of real-life, flesh and blood cases.

Read the report here.

ACP submission to the Cancer Task Force

The ACP responded to NHS Englands announcement of a new independent taskforce to develop a five-year action plan for cancer services that will improve survival rates and save thousands of lives.

Although the focus seems to be primarily on services and treatment which we agree are vital – we need the highest possible standards of care – we were very disappointed not to see environmental and occupational risk factors addressed and actioned in any of the documents referenced for the strategy. Indeed in the report, Five Year Forward View, the emphasis appears to be only on lifestyle interventions.

Although CRUK have narrowed the new cancer strategy to service provision they did acknowledge that the task force is: “A great opportunity for the cancer community to lead development of a cross-system, independent and ambitious new cancer plan……..and addressing the preventable causes of cancer will be key to seeing progress.”

We believe that unless we tackle the primary prevention of cancer i.e. stopping cancer before it starts, we are unlikely to see any improvement in the cancer epidemic. There are many barriers to action on the primary prevention of cancer; cancer is also caused by lack of political will. In our view, the biggest barrier to addressing cancer services is the lack of action on primary prevention which necessitates greater resources into services in the first place.

We sincerley hope this is a great opportunity to include the environmental and occupational risk factors for cancer into new cancer plans…without addressing these confounding risk factors we can only look forward to a cancer forever future.

Our submission can be downloaded here Submission to Cancer Task Force

 

 

Submission to EU Commission on the EDC consultation

Due to the intensive lobbying from the chemicals and pesticide industry the EU Commission missed its December 2013 deadline to set criteria for indentifying Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) – chemicals which are widely used, ubiquitous and harmful. The public consultation was launched in 2014 and closed on the 16/1/2015. Here is the ACP  submission to the EU EDC public consultation

The EDC Free Europe Coalition received 20,440 individual submissions onto its online platform Say No to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals.

In total the EU Coommission received 27,087  responses – more information on the breakdown can be found here.

To follow and support this work please sign up to our campaign http://www.edc-free-europe.org/