The president of France, Macron, is fully committed to banning glyphosate-based weed killers to 2021.
However, MPs have rejected legal moves to enforce the ban. The lower house of the French parliament has rejected efforts to impose a deadline to phase out this controversial chemical that’s been associated with cancer.
Will France succeed in its efforts?
The President’s Pledge to Ban Roundup
The rejection came despite the president’s dedication to remove this weed killer from markets in a period of three years and his centrist large parliamentary majority.
This rejection was immediately criticized with claims that the government is sacrificing people’s health for chemical lobbies and farming industry.
In 2017, Macron instructed the government to ban the use of glyphosate, a chemical present in the Roundup product, as soon as proper alternatives are found and at the latest within a period of three years.
Macron kept his stance even after the EU’s decision to grant another 5-year license for the usage of this weed killer back in 2017.
The farming unions in France are divided, but the largest union, that is, the FNSEA, has argued against a ban and last year, the farmers supporting this view blocked the Champs-Elysees in protest to Macron’s efforts to ban Monsanto’s Roundup.
According to the FNSEA, the farming industry has promised to lower the usage of pesticides; however, environmental groups like the WWF claim that a future legal ban is pivotal to ensure glyphosate remains in the past.
In 2017, the chemical agency of the EU concluded that there wasn’t any data showing the connection of glyphosate and human cancer. Nonetheless, in 2015, a report by the WHO cancer agency deemed glyphosate ‘probably carcinogenic’.
Court Ruling Bans Roundup
In January this year, French authorities officially banned the sale of the weed killer Roundup after the court ruled that regulators didn’t consider safety concerns when clearing this herbicide.
Roundup, owned by Bayer, Germany contains glyphosate which has long been considered by experts a cancerous substance.
ANSES, the French food and environmental safety agency stated that sales of Roundup Pro 260 were prohibited after a court ruling. This bans distribution and use of the herbicide too.
According to an administrative tribunal in Lyon in the southeast of France, ANSES should have paid more attention to the possible safety risks when they authorized the usage of this product back in March, 2017.
For environmental activists, this is a huge and important step and Corinne Lepage, a lawyer of the CRIIGEN genetics research institute explains that it’s very important as it should eventually involve all Roundup versions once the court decides all of the glyphosate products to be potential carcinogens.
The EU renewed their glyphosate use for 5 years in 2017; however, the president of France vowed to outlaw it in their country by 2021.
Recently, a court in California ordered the Bayer Company to pay $78 million to a groundskeeper with terminal cancer who sued the company claiming he hadn’t been properly informed about the possible health risks of his job post.
However, the company is appealing the ruling claiming studies have proven the safety of glyphosate.
Glyphosate is used in several weed killers produced by several companies and it’s the most common herbicide worldwide.
Could we expect a worldwide ban on Monsanto’s Roundup? It remains to be seen.