Last week, it was reported French authorities banned two U.S. pesticides which ecologists deem harmful to bees.
A court in Nice, ruling in a case brought by two ecological associations, banned the products from US group Dow AgroSciences, on the grounds that their containing sulfoxaflor was harmful to bees’ nervous systems.
The court said sulfoxaflor was liable “to present a major risk of toxicity” to pollinators.
The court had already suspended the Transform and Closer brands products from sale in 2017 after they had received initial clearance from the French food and safety agency Anses.
This week, Reuters is reporting,
“France’s health and environment agency said on Monday it was banning dozens of glyphosate-based weedkillers, most of the volume of such products sold in France, ruling there was insufficient data to exclude health risks.“
The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety announced in a statement it was withdrawing the marketing license for 36 products which would no longer be authorized for use after the end of next year.
Bayer AG added the popular glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup to its portfolio with the acquisition of Monsanto. Bayer, facing over 42,000 lawsuits over harms caused by Roundup, claims that farmers still have ‘strong support‘ for the product. On the legal front, the public now awaits January litigation in Monsanto’s hometown of St. Louis where Former Monsanto Chairman and CEO Hugh Grant will have to testify in person. The litigation is being brought by a woman who claims her cancer was caused by exposure to Roundup and that Monsanto covered up the risks instead of warning consumers.
Meanwhile, another talking point claims an abrupt transition away from glyphosate-based products would affect crop production.
In late October, Thailand’s National Hazardous Substances Committee voted to ban the use of three “hazardous chemicals”, including paraquat, glyphosate and chlorpyrifos, often found in pesticides or insecticides.
The move made headlines when U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Undersecretary Ted McKinney asked Thailand to “postpone action on glyphosate” in a letter to Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.
McKinney, citing a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency assessment in 2017, said that glyphosate “poses no meaningful risk to human health when used as authorized”.
“Should a ban be implemented, it would severely impact Thailand’s imports of agricultural commodities such as soybeans and wheats,” said McKinney in his letter, urging Thailand to maintain current maximum residue limits instead.
France’s bold move to ban dozens of glyphosate-based herbicides by the end of next year has sent a message to chemical manufacturers and slow-to-act regulatory agencies. Those working to keep the products on the market, despite continued scientific evidence of mounting environmental harms, negative impacts to human health and a landslide of lawsuits appear to be fighting an uphill battle.