Belgium Bans Monsanto’s Weedkiller for Non-Professionals
By Heather Callaghan, Editor
Monsanto’s weedkiller, Roundup, with its active ingredient glyphosate – is the world’s most widely used herbicide. It’s not just a staple in agriculture, but by your neighbors and city employees in an all-too convenient, but toxic way to kill weeds. Glyphosate has since been detected in waterways, drinking water, pregnant women, urine, organic food and honey samples across the U.S. – even organic ones.
Fresh on the heels of France’s glyphosate ban in public spaces, Belgium turned heads with the announcement by federal minister of agriculture, Willy Borsus, that he wishes to ban the use of herbicides by non-professionals – especially glyphosate.
Borsus said there were safer alternatives, such as heat treatment, mechanical weeding, or bio-pesticides. “Considering the risk-benefit balance, there is no justification for the use of herbicides for individuals,” he said.
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EU member states are “forging ahead” with their own wave of glyphosate bans and restrictions even though the EU Commission is stalwartly defending the safety of glyphosate. This time period is an absolute showdown because glyphosate’s potential reauthorization at the EU level is ongoing.
“Borsus also called for a new investigation into alleged ‘Monsanto manoeuvres and attempts to influence experts’ with the aim of keeping glyphosate on the market,” GMWatch reports. Belgium as a whole, banned the use of any pesticides by public authorities in areas such as parks, school grounds, and playgrounds since 2015.
“Borsus’s surprise move follows prominent coverage in the European press of the internal Monsanto documents (the so-called Monsanto papers) emerging out of the cancer litigation in the United States,” they added.
We can no longer rely on the studies on glyphosate submitted by Monsanto to the European agencies. All the more because they are not freely accessible. Those studies should now really be made public.
Belgian MEP, Kathleen Van Brempt, had called the glyphosate scandal “another Dieselgate,”, hearkening back to the time Volkswagen was caught fraudulently and deliberately programming engines that would activate certain emissions controls only during tests.
Borsus is seeking to follow countries like France, Italy, and Netherlands on various glyphosate bans and to integrate federal and regional law. Previously, “the Brussels Region and Wallonia have banned the use of glyphosate herbicides by non-professionals. But under federal law, the sale of these products was still allowed. So, theoretically, it was possible for non-professionals to buy glyphosate in Brussels and Wallonia, but they were prohibited from using it,” reports GMWatch. Ag use may remain in Wallonia but like other EU members, there will be buffer zones to protect people in close proximity of the herbicide. Flemish environment minister, Joke Schauvliege, is planning a glyphosate ban for non-professional use in Flanders.
It is EU Commission President Juncker who appears to be the frontrunner and stalwart defender of Monsanto despite outcry from 30 MEPs. He is claiming there is “no reason to doubt” the non-critically reviewed EFSA “science“ despite Parliament demands following the release of the Monsanto Papers.
It appears likely that Juncker is pretending that Parliament demands have already been met by various restrictions here and there. It looks like the Commission will issue its proposal to re-approve glyphosate. It will be up to governments that will oppose the Commission, and force its hand to follow Parliament advice on EU-wide restrictions. “Effectively, these restrictions will have to be based on environmental grounds, since the European agencies have dismissed all relevant health concerns,” GMWatch concluded.
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Heather Callaghan is an independent researcher, writer, speaker and food freedom activist. She is the Editor and co-founder of NaturalBlaze as well as a certified Self-Referencing IITM Practitioner.