Reuters International

Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller atomizers are displayed for sale at a garden shop in Bonneuil-Sur-Marne near Paris, France, June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Charles Platiau


BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU nations refused to back a limited extension of the pesticide glyphosate's use on Monday, threatening withdrawal of Monsanto's Roundup and other weed-killers from shelves if no decision is reached by the end of the month.

Contradictory findings on the carcinogenic risks of the chemical have thrust it into the centre of a dispute among EU and U.S. politicians, regulators and researchers.

The EU executive, after failing to win support in two meetings earlier this year for a proposal to renew the licence for glyphosate for up to 15 years, had offered a limited 12 to 18 month extension to allow time for further scientific study.

It hopes a study by the European Union's Agency for Chemical Products (ECHA) will allay health concerns.

Despite the compromise, the proposal failed to win the qualified majority needed for adoption, an EU official said.

Seven member states abstained from Monday's vote, 20 backed the proposal and one voted against, a German environment ministry spokeswoman said.

European Commissioners will discuss the issue at a meeting on Tuesday, a Commission spokesman said.

Failing a majority decision, the EU executive may submit its proposal to an appeal committee of political representatives of the 28 member states within one month. If, again, there is no decision, the European Commission may adopt its own proposal.

The controversy overhangs German chemicals group Bayer's $62 billion offer in May to buy U.S. seeds company Monsanto. Germany was among those which abstained from Monday's vote and has in the past opposed Monsanto's genetically modified seeds.

(Reporting by Sabine Siebold in Berlin and Alissa de Carbonnel and Phil Blenkinsop in Brussels; editing by Adrian Croft)


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