Friday, December 6, 2019 - With tens of thousands of lawsuits pending against Bayer-Monsanto for cancers linked to its glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer, Mexico has joined a growing list of countries that have now acted to ban the use of the chemical out of concerns for health and the environment.
Mexico's Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources Victor M. Toledo blocked a 1,000-ton shipment of glyphosate, saying, "Glyphosate represents a high environmental risk, given the credible presumption that its use can cause serious environmental damage and irreversible health damage."
Mexico's denial of permits to import glyphosate, presumably for agricultural use, is the latest in a long list of countries to make such a move -- a tally that includes Austria, Germany, France, Vietnam and more.
In 2015, the World Health Organization's cancer research arm, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), issued a comprehensive report that found glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic to humans." The classification of "probably carcinogenic to humans" is categorized as Group 2A by the IARC.
Other Group 2A agents include DDT, diazinon, and nitrogen mustards, derived from mustard gas.
In April 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a statement glyphosate is safe. This is despite a report released by the same administration's U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry that corroborated IARC findings.
According to evidence gathered by journalists through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the EPA appears to have uncomfortably close ties with Monsanto.
For example, in 2015, when the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry prepared to conduct its review of glyphosate, Monsanto and the EPA colluded to stall the report (see timeline found in this article).
While the EPA continues to deny the dangers of glyphosate, not everyone agrees. In fact, thousands of lawsuits in the U.S. and in other countries are pending trial against Bayer-Monsanto, brought by people who have suffered non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and other cancers after regularly using glyphosate-based Roundup for agricultural purposes.
The following countries have banned or strongly regulated glyphosate use:
Argentina: More than 30,000 health care professionals urged that the country ban use of glyphosate in 2015. Since then, more than 400 municipalities have restricted or banned its use.
Australia: Cities, towns and school districts are currently experimenting with the use of alternative, safer forms of weed control so that glyphosate use can eventually be eliminated. In the capital city of Sydney, several councils have either banned its use or are in the process of banning it.
Austria: This year, Austria passed a ban on glyphosate set to take effect January 1, 2020.
Bahrain: Bahrain is one of six countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to ban glyphosate.
Belgium: Belgium has banned personal use of glyphosate and has signed a letter in conjunction with five other EU members calling for an exit plan to eliminate glyphosate use. The City of Brussels has banned it completely.
Bermuda: This island nation has banned both private and commercial sale of glyphosate, but in 2017, it relaxed its ban, allowing for limited use to control roadside weeds.
Canada: Eight of Canada's 10 provinces have enacted bans on "non-essential cosmetic pesticides," which include glyphosate.
Colombia: In 2015, heavy restrictions were placed on the use of glyphosate to destroy illegal coca fields. Restrictions were upheld in a 2019 challenge.
Czech Republic: The use of glyphosate in agriculture and as a drying agent was banned in 2019.
Denmark: After several groups lobbied for a ban on glyphosate, the government finally agreed to disallow its use on post-emergent crops.
France: The sale and distribution of Roundup 360 was halted in early 2019. Later that year, the agricultural minister announced that all use of glyphosate, with very limited exceptions, would be eliminated by 2021. More than 20 mayors have already banned its use in their cities.
Germany: Germany will ban all glyphosate use by 2023. Many stores have already removed Roundup from shelves.
Greece: Greece voted against relicensing glyphosate in 2017 and is one of six EU members to sign a letter to the European Commission urging an exit plan to stop using glyphosate. Yet the Greek government approved a license for Monsanto to continue to sell Roundup for at least five more years in 2018 -- against the wishes of many Greek citizens.
India: The states of Punjab and Kerala have banned the sale and distribution of glyphosate.
Italy: Italy has banned glyphosate as a pre-harvest treatment and restricted its use in public places. It also voted against EU relicensing glyphosate.
Kuwait: Kuwait has banned use of glyphosate.
Luxembourg: Some stores have pulled Roundup from shelves, and Luxembourg has called for an exit strategy to eliminate use of glyphosate among the EU.
Malawi: The licenses of Monsanto and other companies selling glyphosate were suspended abruptly by the Malawi government in 2019.
Malta: Glyphosate is now banned in public spaces, including along roadsides and near schools.
Netherlands: Glyphosate cannot be utilized for any non-commercial use.
New Zealand: Auckland and Christchurch have now banned use of glyphosate.
Oman: Glyphosate use is banned.
Portugal: Glyphosate has been banned in all public spaces.
Qatar: Glyphosate use has been banned.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines: These islands have banned the importation of glyphosate.
Saudi Arabia: Glyphosate use has been banned.
Slovenia: Slovenia has called for an EU exit plan to eliminate the use of glyphosate.
Spain: Officials in Barcelona, Zaragoza, Madrid and the regions of Extremuda, La Rioja and Aragon have banned glyphosate.
Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka was the first nation to ban glyphosate, but the ban was lifted in 2017 because of overgrowth of weeds.
Thailand: Thailand attempted to ban glyphosate Dec. 1, 2019, but decided to allow it after reported pressure from the United States.
United Arab Emirates: UAE has banned glyphosate.
United Kingdom: Numerous municipalities have banned use of glyphosate.
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