Glyphosate is one of the most widely used active substances in pesticides to prevent unwanted plant growth around planted crops or to kill plants or parts of plants. These substances are often called ‘herbicides' or ‘weedkillers'.
Glyphosate is used in agriculture and horticulture to combat weeds before sowing. Where genetically modified plants with resistance to glyphosate are grown, the substance is also used after sowing to kill weeds growing amongst the crops. This practice does not, however, happen within the European Union.
ECHA manages the law on the classification and labelling of substances and mixtures. This law regulates the way in which substances are assessed and labelled, based on the hazardous properties they may have – for example poisons, flammable substances, corrosive substances and so on.
For certain substances, such as active substances in pesticide products, a decision on the classification may be made at EU level to apply across the whole of Europe. In practice, this means that the relevant labelling will be required to warn consumers on every product containing the substance.
23 September 2021
ECHA and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have started parallel consultations on the initial scientific evaluations of glyphosate. The consultations will run for 60 days and all interested parties are encouraged to contribute.
30 August 2021
EFSA and ECHA will launch parallel consultations on the Renewal Assessment Report (RAR) and the Harmonised Classification and Labelling (CLH) report on glyphosate by 24 September 2021. All interested parties will be able to contribute to the ongoing scientific assessment by submitting relevant comments and information. The consultation will remain open for 60 days.
10 August 2021
The Assessment Group on Glyphosate submitted updated versions of the Renewal Assessment Report (RAR) and the Harmonised Classification and Labelling (CLH) report to EFSA and ECHA respectively. The two EU regulatory agencies will now carry out the administrative work that is needed before the documents are made available for consultation. The parallel consultations were announced for the first week of September 2021 but will be rescheduled. The new date will be communicated in due course.
ECHA's opinion expected in 2022
In 2019, the Glyphosate Renewal Group (GRG) formally applied to renew the approval of glyphosate for use after the current approval expires at the end of 2022.
Four EU Member States – France, Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden – form the Assessment Group on Glyphosate (AGG). They assess the application and submit their reports to ECHA and European Food Safety Authority EFSA.
In parallel with EFSA's assessment, ECHA's Committee for Risk Assessment, RAC, will review the classification of glyphosate. RAC’s review will focus solely on the hazardous properties of the substance and will not take into account the likelihood of exposure to glyphosate.
RAC's assessment starts in 2021. A consultation on the classification proposal will be launched in September 2021. RAC's final opinion is expected in 2022 and it will feed into EFSA's risk assessment.
Based on EFSA's risk assessment, the European Commission will decide on the renewal of the approval of glyphosate.
- Consultation: Harmonised Classification and Labelling report
- Glyphosate - EU regulators begin review of renewal assessments
- Glyphosate: questions and answers [PDF][EN]
ECHA's process in 2017