France Latest To Ban Certain Glyphosate Weedkillers
By Claire Bernish
France — France is the latest in a growing number of countries to ban glyphosate-based weedkillers for their potential risks to human health.
This week, 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, ANSES deputy director general Françoise Weber told Reuters.
French Minister of Ecology, Ségolène Royal, called for ANSES to withdraw that authorization for the potentially harmful mix less than two months ago.
Though the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) rejected the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) findings of glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen” last year, it suggested the combination of the wildly popular herbicidal ingredient with other compounds could pose increased health risks.
Tallow amine — or, polyethoxylated tallow amine (POEA) — is a surfactant specifically added to glyphosate-based herbicides to increase their efficacy. According to a study from 2006, POEA “is known to cause alterations in respiratory surfaces” in animal species.
Monsanto confirmed to Reuters it will be directly affected by France’s ban, but scoffed at the European controversy surrounding glyphosate, calling it “political.” RoundUp, the agrichemical giant’s boon, employs glyphosate as the main ingredient. Reuters also noted that European Union countries are currently debating whether or not to renew RoundUp’s E.U.-wide license.
“Last month, a number of government officials in France, Sweden, Italy and the Netherlands rebelled against the European Commission’s plans to approve the relicensing of glyphosate in the European Union over health and safety risks. Licensing for glyphosate ends in June and the European Commission is proposing to grant the herbicide a new 15-year lease.”
Rebellion by those E.U. member nations corresponded with a public revolt over the proposed licensing renewal, as activists wearing hazmat suits protested outside during deliberations.
France banned the sale of RoundUp in garden centers in 2015 over the IARC’s findings of glyphosate’s likely carcinogenicity.
Mounting outrage over the world’s most popular weedkiller has led to full or partial bans in multiple countries. Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to allow glyphosate’s usage despite a recent study that found the Food and Drug Administration’s approval had been based on Monsanto’s own flawed and skewed research. California’s plans to include glyphosate on its list of toxic chemicals led to a lawsuit by Monsanto last month, which is still under consideration.
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