Reports & Papers

Public Health Concern:  Why did the NZ EPA ignore the world authority on cancer?  An Assessment of the August 2016 Environmental Protection Authority Review of glyphosate and cancer.  A failure of Government Agencies to meet Statutory Obligations.  July 2017

This scientific report examines and assesses in depth the New Zealand EPA’s actions in dismissing the findings of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).  IARC’s 17 international experts determined in 2015 that glyphosate and its formulations were an animal carcinogen and a probable human carcinogen.  Instead of accepting the findings the EPA commissioned its own review from a NZ toxicologist who concluded that glyphosate was unlikely to cause cancer.   The Report includes supporting statements from a number of distinguished academics and researchers who question EPA’s actions and processes.


Glyphosate and cancer:  Buying science.  How industry strategized (and regulators colluded) in an attempt to save the world’s most widely used herbicide from a ban.  March 2017

Detailed and fascinating report showing how changing rules in Europe’s pesticide regulations has threatened the survival of glyphosate herbicides and how Monsanto and other manufacturers have fought back.  Concludes that “attempts by agencies and individuals to defend glyphosate and its formulations against evidence that they case cancer and damage DNA, are scientifically unsound and undermined by serious conflicts of interest”.


The European Union (EU) glyphosate timeline – Greenpeace October 2017

Updated and fully linked timeline – (as of October 2017) – of the ongoing EU  saga over the decision whether to renew, withdraw or extend the EU licence of glyphosate.


Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food – January 2017

The Report is presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council in March 2017 and calls for a global legally binding treaty to regulate hazardous pesticides throughout their life cycle, taking into account human rights principles.  The report concludes that while there is no shortage of legislation and non-binding guidelines, such instruments are failing to protect humans and the environment from hazardous pesticides, and generally fail to effectively apply the precautionary principle. It notes the pesticide industry wields extraordinary power over global agrochemical research, legislative initiatives and regulatory agendas, and that the latter are under strong pressure to prevent or reverse bans on hazardous pesticides.


No, the UN has not given glyphosate a ‘clean bill of health’ –17 May 2016.

Informative and interesting Ecologist article by UK journalist and campaigner, Georgina Downs, centres on the misleading conclusions that were drawn from the findings of the UN Panel on Pesticides Residues about cancer risks from exposure to glyphosate – in food – not from exposure during and after applications of the chemical.  Georgina, a long time (and famous) campaigner in the UK on pesticide dangers, thoroughly details the major flaws in the existing methods of exposure and risk assessment for pesticides which is more than relevant to New Zealand.

Georgina Downs is a journalist and campaigner. She has lived next to regularly sprayed crop fields for more than 30 years and runs the UK Pesticides Campaign.

Georgina Down’s website:


Questions in Parliament – Glyphosate products and POEA – August 2016

Minister for the Environment reveals that a banned EU product – polyoxyethylene tallowamine (POEA) is present  in almost 90 products sold in New Zealand.  The Minister says the EPA refuses to disclose the names of the products containing POEA because the composition of the formulations is commercially confidential.


IARC – Q&A on Glyphosate – March 2016

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) publishes a clear Q&A on glyphosate that clarifies its findings in its 2015 Monograph.  This includes that both pure glyphosate and its formulations are strongly genotoxic and cause cancer at levels below toxicity.  It also clarifies that its findings are based on both laboratory work and “real life exposures” – like municipal weed-control workers in the UK.


European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) – Request for the evaluation of the toxicological assessment of the co-formulant POE-tallowamine  – Nov 2015

Abstract  The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was asked by the European Commission to prepare a statement on the co-formulant polyethoxylated (POE) tallowamine based on the toxicological evaluation of POE-tallowamine presented by the rapporteur Member State Germany in the context of the peer review of the active substance glyphosate required by Commission Regulation (EU) No 1141/2010 as amended by Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 380/2013 (the evaluation is presented for the section on mammalian toxicology). Missing information identified is listed. The context of the evaluation was that required by the European Commission in accordance with Article 31 of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002.

© European Food Safety Authority, 2015


Glyphosate: No safe Level – October 2015

Detailed report commissioned by Green Party MP, Steffan Browning to bring together some of the peer reviewed evidence available to support the call for glyphosate-based herbicides to be removed from the immediate environment in NZ – in particular off the streets.

The Report details the lack of published peer reviewed science submitted independently of the pesticides industry to the NZ Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), and notes that none of the studies in this Report have been reviewed by them. The report outlines evidence of just 12 major harm concerns relating to glyphosate-based herbicides, and as Browning notes, it is compelling and concerning.


Use of glyphosate-based herbicides by Auckland Transport – Report from TAAF – Sept 2015

A short report by Ron Lopert the Chairperson of Tauranga City Council’s Toxic Agrichemical Advisory Forum adding their views for Auckland Transport Board members to consider when deciding the future use of glyphosate in their operations.  The report details the facts around the flawed regulatory process that sanctions the use of glyphosate-based herbicides and fails to protect public interest. Outlines the need to adopt the prudent or precautionary avoidance principle in order to protect the public and the environment.


Physicians and Scientists for Global Responsibility – Glyphosate Paper – March 2015

PSGR’S comprehensive paper details glyphosate-related adverse effects, looking at the human, animal and physical environment. They note that the detailed results and/or finding from studies and first-hand experience far from exhaust the material available. It provides reasons for a total ban on the use of glyphosate in New Zealand. An appendix also provides alternatives to the use of glyphosate-based herbicides.  Read here


Glyphosate – IARC Monograph – July 2015

After a systematic review and evaluation of the scientific evidence, the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) Monograph Working Group classified glyphosate as probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A). This classification was the result of a year-long evaluation by leading independent experts without conflicts of interest, who reviewed all pertinent, publicly available scientific literature on the carcinogenicity of glyphosate. (media release)

The established procedures and criteria for the selection, evaluation, and integration of evidence used in developing a Monograph are provided in the Preamble to the IARC Monographs.


A Human Rights Impact Assessment of Auckland Transport’s Road Corridor Vegetation Control – November 2014

This HRIA was commissioned by the Weed Management Advisory (WMA). The WMA sought an opinion on whether human rights are being violated by Auckland Transport (AT) continuing to expose some Auckland citizens to the adverse human health and environmental impacts of chemical sprays.

This authoritative and detailed Report provides AT and the WMA with a list of international human rights norms of concern in respect to AT’s road corridor vegetation control programme, outlines AT’s potential liabilities with respect to the programme and recommends measures AT should take to minimize those liabilities and meet its human rights obligations.

See here for WMA’s detailed response


Glyphosate – Roundup Monograph

Glyphosate, commonly known by its original trade name Roundup (manufactured by Monsanto), is the world’s most widely used herbicide.  This monograph provides fully referenced information and scientific evidence of this herbicide from its toxicological assessment to its human and environmental effects.  November 2009.  Read

Glyphosate: Addendum 2012 – To be read in conjunction with the November 2009 Monograph above. Read


Investigation of Ailing Norfolk Pines at Mt Maunganui  – tree decline linked to herbicide use.  August 2014

Tauranga City Council commissioned this report as part of an investigation into the ailing Norfolk Pines at Marine Parade and Pilot Bay.

The comprehensive report, by arborists Paul Kenny and Gerald Collett, links the Norfolk trees’ decline to active ingredients found in some broadleaf herbicide formulas which were used to target weeds (most notably prickle-weed) in turf around and over the root zones of the trees. On the strong recommendations of the authors, Tauranga City Council will discontinue these chemicals where they could come into contact with the tree roots until sufficient research has been carried out to demonstrate that non-target tree species are not vulnerable. The authors further recommend that this advice is widely circulated to all NZ Councils, contractors and herbicide manufacturers and suppliers.


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