On Tuesday, German Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner announced that legislation is being drafted to end the use of glyphosate in the country’s home gardens, parks and sports facilities.
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in agricultural giant Monsanto’s Roundup product, is used to kill weeds. In Germany, an estimated 40 percent of all crop-growing land is treated with the toxic chemical.
The German minister is also planning on establishing additional restrictions for the use of glyphosate in agriculture, except in areas that easily erode and cannot be exposed to heavy machinery.
“I am planning a regulatory draft as a first building block in the strategy to minimize the use of glyphosate,” Kloeckner said, cited by Reuters.
The poisonous herbicide has faced extensive controversy since 2015 when the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer classified it as “probably carcinogenic.” The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) claim the widely-used plant-killing toxin is safe.
In February, the new German coalition government agreed to a “systemic minimization strategy” to significantly decrease the use of glyphosate “with the goal of fundamentally ending usage as fast as possible.” However, a deadline for banning the use of glyphosate has not been set.
“We need a full exit from glyphosate during this legislative period. Glyphosate kills everything that is green, depriving insects of their food source,” Germany’s new Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said earlier this month.
In November 2017, Kloeckner’s predecessor, Christian Schmidt, voted in favor of continuing to use glyphosate in the country for the next five years. In addition, Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer, soon to acquire Monsanto, recently said that he expects Germany to ban the use of the strikingly profitable toxin but notes that without a proper regulatory framework in light of the politicization of its use, a protracted court battle for continued Roundup sales may be looming in Europe.
European Parliament Votes to Ban Glyphosate in 28 Countries
The European Parliament, representing 28 countries and more than 500 million people, voted Tuesday in support of phasing out glyphosate over the next five years and immediately banning its use in households.
“The European Parliament has correctly acknowledged the magnitude of glyphosate’s risks,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Now European regulators charged with protecting human health and the environment must follow the parliament’s brave leadership and phase out the gross overuse of glyphosate.”
The vote by the European Parliament, which is made up of the elected representatives of the European Union, is an advisory vote intended to influence a scheduled vote on Wednesday by experts from the 28 EU countries on whether to follow a recommendation by the EU’s executive commission to reauthorize glyphosate for another 10 years.
But following Tuesday’s overwhelming vote in support for banning the pesticide, the EU Commission has dropped its recommendation, instead calling for EU member countries to regroup and come to a consensus about how to move forward on the issue.
Tuesday’s action was prompted by the World Health Organization’s finding that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is a “probable” human carcinogen. The WHO’s cancer research agency is widely considered to be the gold standard for research on cancer.
The WHO’s finding came after an analysis of publicly available studies by independent scientists of glyphosate’s health risks. Because the scientists conducting the WHO analysis did not include in their assessment the findings of Monsanto-funded studies that have not been made available for public review, the pesticide maker has attempted to undercut the validity of the review process.
“This wasn’t just a vote against glyphosate,” said Donley. “This was a vote supporting independent science and a vote against an industry that has manipulated, coerced and otherwise soiled independent decision-making in Europe and the rest of the world.”
European and U.S. regulatory agencies have come under intense scrutiny lately as evidence has surfaced that Monsanto heavily influenced their safety assessments of glyphosate. Europe’s food safety authority, EFSA, plagiarized text from Monsanto’s renewal application when it concluded in 2015 that glyphosate does not cause cancer. And recently released emails indicate that the head of the U.S. EPA’s cancer review committee on glyphosate was in close contact coordinating with Monsanto employees during the analysis and even promised, apparently successfully, to suppress an investigation into glyphosate by another governmental agency.
The following countries have issued outright bans on glyphosate, imposed restrictions or have issued statements of intention to ban or restrict glyphosate-based herbicides, including Roundup, over health concerns and the ongoing Roundup cancer litigation:
- Argentina: Over 30,000 health care professionals advocated for a glyphosate ban following the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) report on glyphosate, which concluded the chemical is probably carcinogenic to humans.
- Australia: Fremantle and Nedlands stopped spraying glyphosate for street maintenance due to health concerns. Stirling temporarily banned the use of glyphosate on bushlands. Other cities and school districts throughout the country are currently testing alternative herbicides in an effort to curtail or eliminate glyphosate use.
- Brazil: A federal prosecutor requested that the Brazilian Justice Department outlaw the use of glyphosate out of concern the herbicide causes health problems.
- Canada: Eight out of the 10 provinces in Canada have some form of restriction on the use of non-essential cosmetic pesticides, including glyphosate.
- Colombia: Outlawed the use of glyphosate to destroy illegal plantations of coca, the raw ingredient for cocaine, out of concern that glyphosate causes cancer.
- Denmark: The Danish Working Environment Authority declared glyphosate to be carcinogenic and has recommended a change to less toxic chemicals.
- El Salvador: Banned glyphosate over links to deadly kidney disease.
- England: A number of townships, including Shaftsbury, Brighton, Hammersmith & Fulham, Bristol, Glastonbury and Erewash have voted to institute restrictions on pesticides and herbicides, including glyphosate.
- France: Banned the private sale of glyphosate. The law is scheduled to take effect in 2022. France also said it will ban glyphosate in the future regardless of the European Union vote to relicense glyphosate.
- Germany: German government officials from the Green party asked the EU Commission not to renew the license for glyphosate. Germany previously abstained from voting to relicense glyphosate and all indications point to an abstention in the next vote later this year. Certain retail stores in Germany have pulled glyphosate-based herbicides like Roundup from shelves.
- Italy: Italy’s Ministry of Health placed a number of restrictions on glyphosate use. Italian legislators have also raised concerns about glyphosate safety, and have come out against relicensing the herbicide in the European Union.
- Luxembourg: One of Luxembourg’s largest supermarket chains removed glyphosate from its shelves following the release of the IARC glyphosate report.
- Malta: Malta began the process of instituting countrywide ban of glyphosate. However, Environment Minister José Herrera backtracked in January of 2017, saying the country would continue to oppose glyphosate in discussions but would fall in line with the European Union and wait for further studies.
- Netherlands: Banned all non-commercial use of glyphosate.
- New Zealand: The cities of Auckland and Christchurch passed resolutions to reduce the usage of chemicals for weed and pest control in public places.
- Portugal: President of the Portuguese Medical Association called for a worldwide ban of glyphosate.
- Scotland: Aberdeen cut back its use of herbicides and Edinburgh’s City Council voted to phase out glyphosate.
- Spain: Barcelona, Madrid and a number of other regions throughout the country banned the use of glyphosate in public areas.
- Sweden: Raised concerns about glyphosate safety and has pushed against relicensing the herbicide in the EU.
- Switzerland: Concerned about public wellbeing, the Swiss supermarket chains Migros and Coop removed glyphosate-based products from their shelves due to health risks.
While it won’t kill you immediately as demonstrated by foolish Monsanto reps who have been known to drink Roundup in product demonstrations to convince unwitting farmers to use it, the long term effects to health are nothing short of devastating.
- Kidney disease
- Birth defects
- Severe gastrointestinal ailments
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Nervous system damage
These are just a few samples of what glyphosate can do to you and your family. And it is hard to escape from eventual exposure from this carcinogen considering that even those that are being normally used as antiseptic carry with them this particular toxin.
This fact simply explains why in a UCSF study it said that this specific carcinogen is found in 93% or urine samples tested.
So, when will America do the right thing and ban Toxic Monsanto from its farm lands?