A number of cities, counties, states and countries throughout the world have taken steps to either restrict or ban glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer.
The following countries have issued outright bans on glyphosate, imposed restrictions or have issued statements of intention to ban or restrict glyphosate-based herbicides, including Roundup, over health concerns and the ongoing Roundup cancer litigation:
- Argentina: Over 30,000 health care professionals advocated for a glyphosate ban following the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) report on glyphosate, which concluded the chemical is probably carcinogenic to humans.
- Australia: Fremantle and Nedlands stopped spraying glyphosate for street maintenance due to health concerns. Stirling temporarily banned the use of glyphosate on bushlands. Other cities and school districts throughout the country are currently testing alternative herbicides in an effort to curtail or eliminate glyphosate use.
- Malta: Malta began the process of instituting countrywide ban of glyphosate. However, Environment Minister José Herrera backtracked in January of 2017, saying the country would continue to oppose glyphosate in discussions but would fall in line with the European Union and wait for further studies.
Why is Glyphosate Banned?
Most of the glyphosate restrictions or bans throughout the world were introduced following the 2015 IARC report on glyphosate. The IARC report concluded that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen.”
According to the report, the cancers most associated with glyphosate exposure were found to be non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other hematopoietic cancers. The report further concluded that glyphosate exposure caused DNA and chromosomal damage in human cells, as well as genotoxic, hormonal and enzymatic effects in mammals.
Other glyphosate studies have linked the chemical to a number of health issues, including, but not limited to ADHD, Alzheimer’s Disease, Autism, Birth Defects, various forms of cancer, Celiac Disease, Colitis, Heart Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome, Kidney Disease, Liver Disease, and Parkinson’s Disease.
Is Glyphosate Banned in Europe?
As you can see above, some individual countries have introduced legislation to ban or restrict private sales of glyphosate. As for the whole of the European Union (EU), glyphosate is not currently banned. By the end of 2017, the European Commission is expected to hold a vote among member states to determine whether glyphosate should be relicensed in the EU. Since 2016, member states have not voted in a clear majority bloc against or in favor of glyphosate.
That could change as more damaging information is unearthed in the Monsanto Roundup litigation. In the summer of 2017, several members of EU parliament sent a letter to the federal judge overseeing the Roundup multidistrict litigation in Northern California asking for assistance in “helping us untangle the scientific arguments surrounding glyphosate…” If this concern is shared among other member states, the tide could be turning toward a possible glyphosate ban in Europe.
Is Glyphosate Banned in the United States?
Despite the IARC report’s 2015 conclusion that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains that glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans. As such, glyphosate is not banned by the U.S. government; Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides are readily available for purchase throughout the country.
However, not everyone agrees with the EPA’s conclusion on glyphosate. A number of cities, counties and even one U.S. state have issued bans, restrictions or warnings on glyphosate as a result of the ongoing health concerns.
Is Glyphosate Banned in California?
California has not issued a statewide ban on glyphosate. However, on July 7, 2017, California became the first state in the nation to issue a warning on glyphosate by adding the chemical to the state’s Proposition 65 list of chemicals and substances known to cause cancer.
California’s decision to warn consumers about glyphosate was pursuant to the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, better known as California Proposition 65, a ballot initiative approved by voters in 1986 to address toxic chemical exposure concerns. Prop 65 requires California to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.
U.S. Cities to Restrict or Ban Glyphosate
- Carlsbad, California – The City Council voted unanimously to adopt a policy that makes organic pesticides the preferred method for killing weeds. “Asked to choose between aesthetics and public health…I’m going to choose public health every time,” said Councilwoman Cori Schumacher.
A growing number of Connecticut towns, including Branford, Cheshire, Granby, Essex, Greenwich, Manchester, Plainville, Roxbury, Watertown, and Woodbridge have adopted bans or restrictions on glyphosate use. The state also has Public Act 09-56 to eliminate the use pesticides in K-8 schools.
- North Miami, Florida – City Council approved a plan calling for the gradual reduction of pesticide use on city property and a study on alternative pesticides.
- South Portland, Maine – Passed a pesticide plan that discourages property owners from using certain pesticides and herbicides.
New Jersey has State and local ordinances encouraging Integrated Pest Management programs to eliminate or drastically reduce the use of pesticides. At least 15 city school districts and over a dozen other parks and recreation departments in the state have enacted IPM programs.
New York’s Park and Recreation Department has measures to eliminate or reduce pesticide and herbicide use in areas under its control.
- Cuyahoga County, Ohio – Local ordinance prohibits the use of pesticides on county-owned land, and established the adoption of an Integrated Pest Management program for county-owned properties.