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French regulators have banned three dozen weed killers containing the active ingredient glyphosate, including Roundup, indicating the marketing licenses for the herbicides with be withdrawn at the start of the year.
The bans on Roundup and other glyphosate products was announced by France’s environment and health agency, ANSES, and will eliminate most forms the herbicide from the market, reportedly impacting three-quarters of the entire volume of glyphosate products in the country.
It comes almost exactly two years after French President Emmanuel Macron promised to ban the weed killer, which has been linked to an increased risk of cancer and has also been blamed for severely damaging the populations of many pollinator species, like bees.
Macron has said the country will phase out the use of Roundup instead of outlawing it, with a final target date for its complete removal from the French market set for 2021, except in places and situations where there are no viable alternatives.
Austria intends to move forward with a similar glyphosate ban, but announced this week that the ban there was delayed because the country failed to inform the European Union in a timely manner.
Germany has also announced it intends to ban glyphosate use after 2023.
The move to ban Roundup in France and other European countries came after a vote in 2017 by member states of the European Union to extend the license to use glyphosate throughout the EU. The vote came in the face of strong opposition, due to concerns that Roundup and glyphosate may increase the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other forms of cancer.
Concerns over glyphosate came to the forefront in March 2015, when the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared that glyphosate used in Roundup and other weedkillers is a probable carcinogen.
The move sparked world-wide concerns about why Monsanto failed to provide warnings and recommend safety precautions for users, and resulted in hundreds of Roundup lawsuits filed in U.S. courts, each involving similar claims by individuals who say they developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or other forms of cancer following years of Roundup exposure.
Bayer and its Monsanto subsidiary now face more than 43,000 Roundup lawsuits in the United States, brought by farmers, landscapers, groundskeepers and other users of the controversial glyphosate-based weedkiller, alleging that the manufacturer withheld information for years about the known risk of cancer.
While Bayer continues to maintain that glyphosate is safe, following high-profile losses in the first three cases to go to trial, where juries awarded massive damages to individuals diagnosed with cancer following exposure to glyphosate, pressure is mounting on the company to reach settlements for Roundup cancer claims, with a number of additional cases being prepared for trial.