The Flemish government approved a decree to prohibit the individual use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer.
The glyphosate ban decree was agreed to at the end of last week and will now be taken up by the Council of State. As of now, it is unclear when the Belgium glyphosate ban for individuals will take effect.
The government’s move to ban glyphosate did not come as a surprise to many in the country. In 2016, the Belgian cities of Brussels and Wallonia issued their own decrees to prohibit the individual use of glyphosate.
A number of Belgian politicians have also been critical of Monsanto by voicing concerns about the safety of glyphosate. Earlier this year, Flemish Environment Minister Joke Schauvliege suggested that she wanted to ban glyphosate under the precautionary principal after court documents in U.S. Roundup litigation against Monsanto revealed that the agrochemical giant may have ghostwritten scientific studies to avoid the chemical being listed as a potential carcinogen.
The Roundup litigation began in 2015 after the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued a report on glyphosate, concluding the chemical is a “probable human carcinogen.” Since the IARC report, over 1,100 people from all across the U.S. have filed lawsuits against Monsanto, alleging exposure to Roundup caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
In addition to the growing number of individual claims in the Roundup litigation, Monsanto is also facing a class-action lawsuit in Wisconsin over the marketing of Roundup. Plaintiffs, in that case, accuse Monsanto of falsely promoting Roundup as interfering with an enzyme found in plants, but not “in people or pets.” According to the allegations, this statement says it is “false, misleading, and deceptive, as the enzyme that glyphosate targets is found in people and pets—specifically, in beneficial gut bacteria…”
Belgium One of a Growing Number of Countries to Issue Glyphosate Ban
Belgium joins a number of other countries in Europe and abroad that have made similar decrees to ban glyphosate. The following countries have issued glyphosate bans:
- Sri Lanka – Issued outright ban on glyphosate following a study linking Roundup to Fatal Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), the second-leading cause of death among males in the country.
- El Salvador – Citing the same study linking Roundup to Fatal Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), El Salvador passed a law banning glyphosate, though the law has not yet taken effect.
- Bermuda – Issued an outright ban on all imports of glyphosate, which will amount to a slow phasing out of use as supplies run down. According to Bermuda’s Environmental Minister, the country’s glyphosate ban will continue.
- Netherlands – The government banned glyphosate for home garden use.
- France – The government passed legislation to ban glyphosate for home garden use. The law will go into effect in 2022.