(CN) – The European Commission on Tuesday greenlighted a citizens’ initiative aiming to ban the herbicide glyphosate outright and to set regulatory targets to phase out the use of all pesticides generally.
Supporters of the “Ban Glyphosate” initiative now have a year to gather a million signatures from Europeans from at least seven member states. After that, the commission has three months to decide whether to implement the two-pronged initiative – and must explain its reasoning either way.
If the commission decides to implement the initiative, it will propose to EU member states a complete ban on glyphosate – a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide originally created in 1970 by Monsanto and brought to market four years later as Roundup.
Now sold under many brand names, glyphosate is the most-used herbicide in U.S. agriculture and the second-most used in homes, government, industry and commerce – largely due to the explosion and spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds across the globe.
Supporters of the initiative say glyphosate is also one of the most widely used herbicides in Europe and “its negative impacts on the environment and biodiversity are clearly documented” – as is its “serious threat to human health.”
The group also wants scientific evaluation of all pesticides for EU regulatory approval to be based on published studies commissioned by government authorities, not the pesticide industry. And the initiative calls on EU lawmakers to set continent-wide mandatory reduction targets for pesticide use “with a view to achieving a pesticide-free future,” the group says on its website.
Signature-gathering can begin Jan. 25.
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