Thursday, May 10, 2018 by Isabelle Z.
Given what we know about the serious harms caused by the weed killer glyphosate to human health and the environment, it’s baffling that such a toxic product is still allowed to be sold. Now Germany has found the courage to put its foot down, standing up to powerful, bullying companies like Roundup manufacturer Monsanto and banning the use of glyphosate in parks, sports facilities and home gardens while severely restricting its use in agriculture.
As the debate rages on in Europe over whether or not the ingredient causes cancer – countless credible scientific studies and the World Health Organization certainly think so – Germany isn’t taking any chances with its citizens’ health. The country’s Agriculture Minister, Julia Kloeckner, said she was finishing up the draft regulation.
While no specific deadline has been set yet, Environment Minister Svenja Schulze is aiming to stop its use by the fall of 2021. Schulze said: “We need a full exit from glyphosate during this legislative period. Glyphosate kills everything that is green, depriving insects of their food source.”
The man who previously held Kloeckner’s post, Christian Schmidt, caused a serious shakeup internationally and within the previous German coalition when he unexpectedly supported a proposal by the European Commission to allow glyphosate to be used for the next five years. This had the effect of allowing glyphosate’s use to be extended in the European Union even though the move was opposed by France and the Social Democrat Party.
Although Kloeckner characterized the new restrictions on glyphosate use in agriculture in the country as being “massive”, there is a provision to exempt areas that are prone to erosion and cannot be worked using heavy machinery.
Glyphosate is the best-selling weed killer in the world, and it is used to treat around 40 percent of the crop-growing land in Germany. On the market for more than 40 years, it has increasingly come under scrutiny for its connection to host of health problems and environmental harms. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, labeled it a probable carcinogen.
One can only hope that other countries will follow Germany’s lead. The U.S. is still largely turning a blind eye to glyphosate’s dangers, thanks in no small part to the intense lobbying on Monsanto’s part to keep its products on store shelves. The stubborn EPA refuses to ban the chemical, and it was recently revealed that they have known about glyphosate’s carcinogenicity for at least 35 years and helped cover it up. EPA memos that were recently uncovered showed that the EPA knew by 1980 that the ingredient caused malignant tumors, kidney problems and hyperplasia, but they suppressed the findings at Monsanto’s behest.
Glyphosate exposure has been linked to problems like melanoma, bone cancer, liver cancer, thyroid cancer, pancreatic cancer, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Monsanto currently finds itself facing a slew of lawsuits on behalf of people diagnosed with cancer as a result of glyphosate exposure, and it’s unconscionable to think that an agency meant to protect us and our environment is so easily swayed into doing the exact opposite. Of course, there’s a lot of money at stake, with Roundup bringing in $994 million in net sales for Monsanto from 2013 to 2014 alone.
While the move might make German produce safer and save the lives of agricultural workers and people who live near farms, those of us who live where the chemical is still allowed will have to be proactive about growing our own food or seeking trustworthy sources of organic fruits and vegetables.
Read Glyphosate.news for more breaking news on this toxic herbicide.
Sources for this article include: