Letter to the editor - science shouldn't be for sale
The CPA has issued the following letter to the Guardian in response to an opinion piece written by Carey Gillam from the US Right to Know organisation.

Dear Sir,

I am writing in response to the article published Tuesday 18th Feb, “Science shouldn't be for sale – we need reform to industry-funded studies to keep people safe

The article claims “corporate-funded science is likely to be biased in favour of corporate product approvals”, that is a disingenuous claim and is unfair on the independent scientists and regulators involved in these studies. These are experts who take their duty to protect public health incredibly seriously. All studies carried out on behalf of industry are in accordance with the OECD’s rigorous standard of Good Laboratory Practice. This ensures that all data is reliable, replicable and meets the highest standards of scientific integrity.

If the manufacturers did not pay for the research, then who should? The taxpayer? The safety evaluations required as part of the pesticide approvals process are extremely rigorous, and the associated the costs can be incredibly high. It takes more than 10 years and costs more than £250m to bring a product to market and it would seem only right that these costs are funded by companies themselves rather than from the public purse.

Regarding the studies from the German laboratory relating to glyphosate: only 3 of the 24 studies dealt with genetic changes (mutagenicity) and no evidence of mutagenicity weas found in any of them. Indeed, no regulator in the world classes glyphosate as a carcinogen.

To help fight climate change, we aim to be as productive as possible on the land we have. By using crop protection products, farmers can maximise the productivity of existing farmland resulting in more land for nature. Debates around the use and approval of these products should be based on science, not fear.

Sarah Mukherjee

Chief Executive, Crop Protection Association

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Adam Speed
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