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article imageEU Parliament votes to ban most uses of glyphosate

By Karen Graham     Apr 13, 2016 in Environment
The European Parliament has voted to re-license glyphosate, but for a shorter period, instead of the 15 years initially proposed, citing health concerns surrounding the chemical. They are also recommending a number of restrictions on the herbicide's use.
Some farm lobbies and environmentalists are hailing the EU Parliament's vote as a "partial win" for the environment, but others don't look at the vote as anything more than giving in or political posturing.
The EU Parliament adopted a resolution that is non-binding, strongly opposing the Commission's proposal to re-approve the license of glyphosate for use in the European Union for 15 years, reports the Ecologist. Glyphosate is the controversial weed killer commonly known as Monsanto's Roundup.
"This resolution opposes approval of glyphosate for most uses, and takes aim at the excessive length of the approval proposed by the Commission, which must now address these concerns."
Specifically, according to the Farmers Guardian, the MEPs resolution calls for the license to restrict the application of glyphosate to professionals only, and a ban on the use of the chemical near public parks, playgrounds, and gardens.
Probably the most contentious issue and one the MEPs strongly condemned is the use of glyphosate on crops before harvest, used to "desiccate" the plants and supposedly make them easier to harvest. The MEPs want strict limits set on "pre-harvest applications" of glyphosate, claiming there is a clear route for human exposure to the chemical by way of the harvested crop. Describing the practice as "green burn-down," the resolution said, "This practice leads inter alia to increased human exposure."
The MEPs passed the resolution by 374 votes to 225, with 102 abstentions, in Strasburg on Wednesday. After the vote, Green food safety and public health spokesperson Bart Staes expressed approval of the partial ban proposal, but he also pointed out that there is still much work to be done before the May meeting of the Commission.
The current license for glyphosate is due to expire at the end of June 2016. Digital Journal reported on Monday that there is still the EU Standing Plant Animal Food and Feed (PAFF) Committee meeting that will be held on May 18-19, and this meeting will undoubtedly take into account the growing opposition to the use of glyphosates.
"There is growing opposition among EU governments to re-approving glyphosate for use in the EU and we hope today's vote, combined with major public opposition, will convince more governments to change their minds on glyphosate," Staes added.
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