European Union authorities appear likely to reauthorize the use of the popular weedkiller glyphosate despite opposition from some member nations.
The Guardian, citing a leaked proposal from the European Commission, reported that the measure would reduce the authorization period for glyphosate from 15 to 10 years and call for an immediate ban if the European Chemicals Agency determines it to be hazardous in a study scheduled for 2017.
Otherwise, however, the ability for farmers to apply glyphosate to European farm fields would remain largely intact.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup and is the most commonly used herbicide in the world. Last year, the World Health Organization's cancer research arm classified it as a probable human carcinogen.
Some nations -- including France, Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands -- balked at reauthorizing glyphosate last month, and the European Parliament last week voted against allowing its use in cases where alternative weed-control methods exist.
The European Food Safety Authority and other oversight bodies, however, did not find links between the chemical and cancer, and Monsanto suggested that the WHO agency’s finding contradicted all other scientific evaluations of glyphosate.
In Europe, the latest reauthorization proposal pitted environmental and agricultural interests against each other, while an industry group linked to Monsanto criticized the modest changes floated by the commission.
"The commission has granted 15 years in all previous cases of the renewal of active substances," a Glyphosate Task Force spokesman told The Guardian. "We see no reason why glyphosate should be treated differently."