French Court Bans Popular Herbicide

The world's most widely-used herbicide, developed by Monsanto, is now banned in France.

Jan. 23, 2019
By Isabel Putinja

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A court in France has banned Roundup Pro 360, a widely-used weed killer that has glyphosate as its active ingre­di­ent.

The French jus­tice sys­tem has taken the lead in Europe by tak­ing a deci­sion that can be applied to all Roundup prod­ucts.- Corinne Lepage, for­mer envi­ron­ment min­is­ter and lawyer in the case

Citing poten­tial health and safety risks, the ban entered into effect imme­di­ately fol­low­ing the rul­ing by a French admin­is­tra­tive tri­bunal in Lyon on January 15. The court ruled that the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) was wrong to approve use of the prod­uct in 2017 with­out exam­in­ing the poten­tial health risks of glyphosate.

See Also: Pesticides and Herbicides

Roundup con­tains 41.5 per­cent glyphosate, and is the brand name of the world’s most widely-used her­bi­cide devel­oped by Monsanto and now owned by the German phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany Bayer.

The French court ruled that based on sci­en­tific stud­ies, Roundup Pro 360 is a poten­tially car­cino­genic prod­uct for humans, sus­pected of being toxic for human repro­duc­tion and for aquatic organ­isms.”

Corinne Lepage, a for­mer envi­ron­ment min­is­ter and the lawyer who rep­re­sented the genet­ics insti­tute Criigen in the case against ANSES, told Liberation news­pa­per that the French jus­tice sys­tem has taken the lead in Europe by tak­ing a deci­sion that can be applied to all Roundup prod­ucts.”

Bayer is appeal­ing the court’s deci­sion, cit­ing stud­ies that prove glyphosate is safe. Bayer is cur­rently fac­ing more than 9,300 law­suits over the neg­a­tive health effects of Roundup and related prod­ucts.

Bayer dis­agrees with the deci­sion taken by the Administrative Court of Lyon to can­cel the mar­ket­ing autho­riza­tion for RoundUp Pro 360,” a com­pany spokesper­son said in a state­ment. This prod­uct for­mu­la­tion, like all crop pro­tec­tion prod­ucts, has been sub­ject to a strict eval­u­a­tion by the French author­i­ties (ANSES), an inde­pen­dent body and guar­an­tor of the pub­lic health secu­rity.”

The use of glyphosate is a con­tentious issue in France and has been the sub­ject of intense par­lia­men­tary debate. French pres­i­dent Emmanuel Macron had pledged at the end of 2017 to ban the sub­stance in France by 2020.

In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) had clas­si­fied glyphosate as prob­a­bly car­cino­genic to humans,” but despite this warn­ing the European Commission had approved a license renewal for the sub­stance in November 2017.

Partial and total bans of glyphosate also have been issued in about a dozen other coun­tries since the release of that report, includ­ing sev­eral other mem­bers of the European Union, Brazil, Canada and New Zealand.

In related news, the same week the French court banned Roundup, a European Parliament report revealed that the European Commission’s 2017 deci­sion to extend the license for glyphosate was based on text that had been copied and pasted from Monsanto stud­ies and included in an assess­ment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that con­cluded the sub­stance is safe to use.


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