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Federal Judge Bans Use of Glyphosate in Brazil

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Soy field in Brazil. Lima Pix / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

A federal judge in Brazil ordered the suspension of products containing glyphosate until the government re-evaluates the chemical's toxicology, Reuters reported Monday, citing legal papers.

The decision prohibits the registration of new products containing the herbicide and suspends existing registrations within the next 30 days, the report said.


The ruling affects Monsanto, the maker of glyphosate-based weedkillers such as Roundup and "Roundup Ready" seeds that are genetically modified to resist the chemical. Brazil happens to be the world's largest soybean producer and exporter and plants Monsanto's herbicide-tolerant soybeans on a wide scale, Reuters noted.

"I think the judge is wrong and that the decision will be revoked somehow," Director Luiz Lourenço of agribusiness industry association Abag told the news service. "It is impossible to do agriculture without these products."

Glyphosate is the world's most popular herbicide and has been at the center of controversy since 2015, when the chemical was classified as a "probable human carcinogen" by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer.

In the U.S., Monsanto is facing roughly 4,000 lawsuits from plaintiffs claiming that exposure to the herbicide caused them or their loved ones to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The lawsuits also allege that the company suppressed scientific evidence related to the health risks of its weedkillers.

Monsanto, which was recently purchased by German pharmaceuticals giant Bayer for $62.5 billion, has adamantly defended the safety of its products.

In a statement given to Reuters, Monsanto said that glyphosate has been used for four decades in Brazil and that reviews worldwide have concluded the herbicide can be used safely. It also respects the procedures used by Anvisa, Brazil's national health authority, to ensure the chemical's safe use, the statement added.

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