Swiss refuse to ban controversial weedkiller

Swiss farmers can continue to use the weedkiller glyphosate after the lower house of parliament decided on Friday not to ban it.

Swiss refuse to ban controversial weedkiller
File photo: Phillippe Huguen/AFP

Glyphosate – a chemical used by US agriculture company Monsanto in its weedkiller Roundup – has been the subject of a petition by Greenpeace and other associations who want to see it banned over fears it could be toxic to humans.

But on Friday a majority of the Swiss parliament voted against them, saying there wasn’t enough scientific evidence to justify banning the chemical herbicide, reported news agencies.

Glyphosate has long been the subject of scrutiny over its potential impact on health.

Greenpeace and other activists called for its ban following a March 2015 report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that said glyphosate “probably” caused cancer.

But in May this year another report by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that the substance was “unlikely” to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans.

In July the European Union decided to put limits on glyphosate’s use in the 28-member bloc.

A new EU study on the weedkiller is due to conclude by the end of 2017, while Switzerland is also due to publish a study on the impact of glyphosate in Switzerland, said news agencies.

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