EU parliament votes to ban controversial weedkiller by 2022

STRASBOURG, France: The European Parliament Tuesday called for the controversial weedkiller glyphosate to be banned by 2022 amid fears it causes cancer, a day before EU states vote on whether to renew its licence.

MEPs approved a resolution which is not binding but will add fresh pressure on the European Commission, the bloc's executive arm, which has recommended the licence for the herbicide be renewed for 10 years.

Glyphosate critics, led by environmental campaigners Greenpeace, are calling for an outright ban in Europe and on Monday activists handed the EU a petition signed by more than 1.3 million people backing such a move.

Experts from the EU's 28 member states are due to vote on the commission recommendation on Wednesday, just as a row escalates over claims that US agro-giant Monsanto unduly influenced research into its weedkiller's safety.

MEPs criticised the commission's proposal, saying it "fails to ensure a high level of protection of both human and animal health and the environment (and) fails to apply the precautionary principle".

They called for a halt to the non-professional use of glyphosate when its licence runs out in Dec 15 and for its use to end near public parks and playgrounds.

Opponents of glyphosate, used in Monsanto's best-selling herbicide Roundup, point to a 2015 study by the World Health Organization's (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer that concluded it was "probably carcinogenic".

This contradicted findings by the European Food Safety Authority and the European Chemicals Agency, which both said glyphosate was unlikely to cause cancer in humans, in line with a 2016 review carried out by other WHO experts and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. — AFP