While a number of harmful pesticides and herbicides are already restricted or banned throughout the European Union, France just took a big step, announcing a ban on the number one selling herbicide, Monsanto’s glyphosate-based Roundup.
France’s Ecology Minister Segolene Royal made the announcement on Sunday that the country would ban the sale of Roundup from garden and home-improvement stores across the country because of the herbicide’s link to cancer.
The United Nation’s has labeled glyphosate as a likely carcinogen to humans after the UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer released data highlighting the health risks.
Glyphosate is widely used in agriculture. It’s a companion herbicide to genetically modified crops (such as Monsanto’s ‘Roundup Ready’ GMOs including corn, soy, canola and sugar beets). It’s also widely used by home gardeners, and in public lawns and parks.
“France must be on the offensive with regards to the banning of pesticides,” Royal said on French television, reports the AFP.
“I have asked garden centres to stop putting Monsanto’s Roundup on sale” in self-service aisles, she added.
The announcement comes after the French consumer association CLCV asked both French and European officials to stop allowing the sale of glyphosate-based products to home gardeners.
Glyphosate, best known as Monsanto’s Roundup, has been in wide use since the 1970s. The most popular weed killer in the world, it is now widely available under generic labels.
Long considered a low-risk herbicide, recent research found glyphosate may be linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma, particularly among farmers exposed to the herbicide.
According to the AFP, Monsanto strongly contested the IARC classification, saying “relevant, scientific data was excluded from review”.
The EU recently banned several pesticides in the neonicotinoid class for their suspected link to colony collapse disorder, which has led to the deaths of millions of honeybees around the world in recent years. Some experts believe glyphosate may also be contributing to pollinator deaths, particularly monarch butterflies, who rely heavily on milkweed plants, one of the plants often targeted with Roundup.
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