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Daily News Blog

28
Sep

French President Calls for Glyphosate/Roundup Ban, MPs Balk

(Beyond Pesticides, September 28, 2018) Despite French President, Emmanuel Macron’s pledge to see glyphosate banned in his country, French ministers of parliament (MPs) have once again refused to enter the banning of glyphosate into legislation. Glyphosate’s use in Europe has come under scrutiny and heated debate. But despite evidence of harms, and interference by Monsanto, the European Union (EU) extended its license last year. However, France has pledged to ban the chemical within a few years.

French MPs –who were voting at second reading on a comprehensive reform measure aimed at reforming the trade relations in the agricultural sector and promoting healthier food – have once again refused to approve the banning of glyphosate. A promise by Emmanuel Macron, the banning of glyphosate within the next three years was not initially included in the government’s bill. Following the intensification of the debate about the herbicide’s renewal at European level, the question of including the president’s promise in the legislative text was posed in the parliamentary debate. In May, MPs followed recommendations of the government to consider a ban. But they were opposed to a ban within the framework of the French law, and rejected the amendments mentioning a ban of the Monsanto herbicide.

The debate over glyphosate and whether to renew its license in the EU gained global attention last year. Representatives from 18 of the 28 member states voted in favor of the European Commission’s proposal for a five-year renewal. France was against the decision. President Emmanuel Macron wanted a shorter extension and a rapid phasing out of glyphosate. After the vote, he said he would take all necessary measures to ban the product, originally developed by Monsanto, as soon as an alternative is available and at the latest within three years, and will continue to engage at the pan-European level to abolish glyphosate use.

In 2015, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen.” Since then, Monsanto has been hard at work trying to undermine findings that show its flagship product, glyphosate, is anything other than “safe.” However, its attempts to unduly influence and undermine scientific research and government review of its product has been disclosed widely in the press. Concerns about cancer are compounded when tests continue to detect glyphosate is common foods. Glyphosate levels were found in Cheerios, Pita Chips, and in breast milk German beers,  feminine hygiene products, and bread, as well as in nearly 100% of Germans tested. In the U.S., public interest, food safety, and environmental organizations have been calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban glyphosate.

A California jury found Monsanto liable in a lawsuit filed by a man who worked as a groundskeeper and used the company’s glyphosate-based herbicide, which he proved caused his cancer. The jury, which awarded the groundskeeper $289 million, found that Monsanto “knew for decades” the product was potentially dangerous and acted “with malice or oppression” by failing to warn Johnson of the risks. Bayer’s Monsanto claims that the verdict does not reflect the scientific data. “While we are sympathetic to Mr. Johnson and his family, glyphosate is not responsible for his illness, and the verdict in this case should be reversed or set aside,” Bayer (which merged with Monsanto earlier this year) said in a September 18 statement. The company is now requesting the judge to reverse the verdict, reduce the award, or grant a new trial for the company. Over 8,000 similar lawsuits are pending in U.S. courts

While federal oversight and regulation lag behind, environmental groups, like Beyond Pesticides, are urging localities to restrict or ban the use of glyphosate and other unnecessary toxic pesticides. Beyond Pesticides promotes these actions and many more through the Tools for Change webpage. This page is designed to help activists and other concerned citizens organize around a variety of pesticide issues on the local, state, and national level. Learn how to organize a campaign and talk to your neighbors about pesticides with our factsheets.

If you want to take action in your community to ban glyphosate, use Beyond Pesticides’ factsheet and report to advance your effort: See our factsheet on glyphosate/Roundup, our report Glyphosate/Roundup Exposed, and coverage and background on the glyphosate/Roundup lawsuit.

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

Source: Euractiv

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