While the EU Commission claims that the safety of glyphosate is not in question, EU member states are forging ahead with their own bans and restriction. Report: Claire Robinson
A wave of glyphosate bans are being introduced by member states in Europe while the issue of the chemical’s reauthorization at EU level drags on. Among the most dramatic developments has been the announcement by Belgium’s federal minister of agriculture, Willy Borsus, that he wants to ban the sale and use of herbicides by non-professionals. He voiced particular concern over glyphosate.
“Considering the risk-benefit balance, there is no justification for the use of herbicides for individuals,” Borsus said. He said there were safer alternatives, such as heat treatment, mechanical weeding, or bio-pesticides.
Borsus also called for a new investigation into alleged “Monsanto manoeuvres and attempts to influence experts” with the aim of keeping glyphosate on the market.
Borsus’s surprise move follows prominent coverage in the European press of the internal Monsanto documents (the so-called Monsanto papers) emerging out of the cancer litigation in the United States.
The documents appear to suggest that Monsanto manipulated the research on glyphosate. Commenting on the revelations, the leading toxicologist Prof Jan Tytgat, president of the European Section of the International Society on Toxinology, commented,
“We can no longer rely on the studies on glyphosate submitted by Monsanto to the European agencies. All the more because they are not freely accessible. Those studies should now really be made public.”
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