Report: Austria bans glyphosate

Austrian lawmakers banned the key chemical in Roundup Herbicide, the first country to do so in Europe. Lawmakers in the country were voting on a proposal by the opposition Social Democratic Party to ban the use of the chemical glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the world.

A Social Democrat who helped craft the legislation, tells Dow Jones, “We want to be a role model for other countries in the EU and around the world.”

However, Bayer, which acquired glyphosate maker Monsanto, insists the product doesn’t cause cancer if it’s used as indicated. The company points out that regulators around the world, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the European Chemicals Agency, have all declared glyphosate to be safe and not carcinogenic.

A report commissioned this week by Austria’s Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism says the total ban doesn’t conform to EU law. The bill’s sponsors say other countries have been allowed to ban specific compounds. The vote came despite glyphosate being cleared for use in Austria and the rest of the European Union until 2022. Some critics say that fact could make any national ban illegal. The European Commission has three months to reject the Austrian measure.

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