A new study published by Ecologistas en Acción, a member of the EDC-Free Europe coalition, reveals that surface and groundwaters in Spain are contaminated with the popular yet health-harming herbicide glyphosate.

The report, based on data from 2015 to 2019 provided by the Spanish Ministry for Ecological Transition in response to an official request put forward by Ecologistas en Acción, shows that glyphosate was detected in 31% of surface water samples. This percentage of contamination rises to 42% when looking specifically at AMPA, the main chemical produced when glyphosate is metabolised.

For groundwater, the environmental group found 11% of samples contained glyphosate and 0.3% of samples contained AMPA. Alarmingly, some surface and groundwater samples contained concentrations of glyphosate hundreds of times higher than the legal limit values.  

Glyphosate is the most widely-used pesticide in the world. Exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides has been linked to certain types of cancer, as well as adverse effects on human development and the hormonal system. In 2015, the International Agency of Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans”

The current EU approval of glyphosate expires on 15 December 2022. As part of this renewal assessment procedure, the four EU member states leading the assessment (France, the Netherlands, Sweden and Hungary) and forming the Assessment Group on Glyphosate released preliminary conclusions on the toxicity of glyphosate, according to which the substance has no harmful effects on human and animal health, or any unacceptable effects on the environment. 

But now, a new analysis by the French environmental group Générations Futures has revealed that those member states’ conclusions may have excluded 99% of existing scientific literature on the toxicity of glyphosate.   

In October 2021, forty-one health and environment groups including many EDC-Free Europe coalition partners urged EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides to guarantee that the ongoing assessment of the substance is based on updated independent scientific evidence and remains free from vested interests.