Yesterday the French government announced a 2022 deadline to phase out the use of glyphosate – the active ingredient to herbicides like Monsanto’s Roundup. Roundup is the world’s best-selling herbicide and is used agriculturally, industrially and even on individual lawns everywhere.
While many outlets are reporting an outright French ban on glyphosate, the truth is that the country has “rowed back” on its original intention to ban the herbicide.
Government spokesman Christophe Castaner had said earlier Monday that France—Europe’s biggest food producer—intended to phase out glyphosate completely by 2022 over fears that it may cause cancer.
But he later reversed his comments, saying that by the end of President Emmanuel Macron’s five-year term “the government is committed to seeing significant progress on all pesticides”.
The European Commission has proposed extending the licence for the use of the chemical for 10 years, which France has said it will vote against and try to block.
France’s biggest farming union, the FNSEA is stalwartly fighting the block, fearing that any type of ban would put big farmers at a competitive disadvantage.
The EU’s chemical agency chimed in to say that it shouldn’t be classified as carcinogenic, but the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer stated that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic.”
Recently France and even the EU as a whole have made strides when it comes to pesticides:
- Late 2016, France banned pesticides in public places.
- Non-professionals will no longer be able to buy pesticides over the counter.
- A French ban of pesticides in private gardens will be complete by 2019.
- Earlier 2016, France’s National Assembly just voted to totally ban the bee-killing pesticides known as neonicotinoids.
- In Spring of 2016, ANSES — French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety — sent manufacturers a letter of intent to withdraw its authorization for herbicides containing glyphosate with the adjuvant (additive) tallow amine.
- A French study found hundreds of glaring conflicts of interest in studies that spread glowing reviews of GMOs.
The French minister of ecology stood firm in front of the 250 farmers who came to defend glyphosate on Friday in the Champs-Élysées. He thinks this herbicide is dangerous. In an interview he gave to Ouest-France, Nicolas Hulot argued for the precautionary principle. Read the interview.
Last year, Europe limited use of glyphosate pending further research, and recently, 1.3 million Europeans signed an online petition calling for a ban on glyphosate.
DISCLAIMER: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.