Use of glyphosate ‘undesirable,’ says environment minister

“As a cautionary note, the use of glyphosate is undesirable, in my view,” Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, Iceland’s minister for the environment and natural resources, tells in a written statement. “And I’m of the opinion that such chemicals should be used as sparingly as possible. I, therefore, encourage people to stop its use, or at least reduce it.” He was asked about his attitude toward the herbicide, in light of a recent US ruling.

The herbicide has been in the news since Friday, when a California jury ordered the agrochemical giant Monsanto to pay nearly USD 290 million for its failure to warn a groundskeeper, who now is dying of cancer, that its weed killer Roundup, of which glyphosate is the main ingredient, might cause cancer.

The sale of a stronger form of glyphosate is prohibited in Iceland, according to Guðmundur, and the marketing of such a product has been prohibited since the beginning of the year. Still, various herbicides containing glyphosate are on the market, Roundup among them.

Guðmundur emphasizes the importance for people to consider which products they use and to ask themselves whether that use is necessary, be it herbicides, cleaning agents, pesticides or other harmful substances.

He points out that in an action plan, published by the Ministry for the Environment in August of 2016, an emphasis is placed on continuing to work toward adopting measures against pests in farming and gardening, that avoid the use of chemicals. In addition, authorities attempt to reduce the use of herbicides by adopting methods which do not include the use of chemicals.

When asked whether the Roundup verdict gives the ministry reason to discuss the use of glyphosate further, he reiterates that the emphasis is on avoiding any unnecessary use of such chemicals.  




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