EU to Vote on Use of Glyphosate Containing Weed Killers

The use of herbicides with glyphosate has received a lot of controversy lately as it was revealed that glyphosate may be a cancer-causing agent. Glyphosate, an enzyme that is only found in plants, acts as a weed killer by stopping certain enzymatic pathway in unwanted plants. Many countries around the world are banning the use of herbicides containing glyphosate in order to protect the health and well-beings of their citizens.

Most recently, the European Union (EU) proposed a shorter renewal license for herbicides that contain glyphosate. The voting period for this agreement has been pushed back twice already due to lack of sufficient support. Many members of the EU disagree on whether to pass this new agreement. The permission for use of glyphosate herbicides in the EU expires July 1st, 2016. If an agreement is not made, the glyphosate companies are forced to pull their products from the EU in six months.

During the first round of votes that occurred June 1st 2016, the majority vote was to keep glyphosate use in the EU due to tests by European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and German Federal Institute finding that glyphosate is not likely a carcinogen. However, many other member states are hesitant to believe these conclusions so a qualified majority was not reached. Moreover, several member states refused to take a position on either side. Nevertheless, the EU Commissioners reminded the Member States that even if the renewal of glyphosate use is agreed upon, individual member states can still decide whether they will allow use of glyphosate domestically.

Another meeting is set Monday, June 6th, 2016, to have another Member State vote in efforts to produce a collective agreement on the use of herbicides containing glyphosate. However, if a consensus cannot be reached, the final decision will be left to the European Union's Agency for Chemical Products (ECHA).