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Austria moves to ban glyphosate

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Austria moves to ban glyphosate

Norbert Hofer, leader of the Austrian Freedom Party | Christian Bruna/EPA-EFE

Austria moves to ban glyphosate this year

Glyphosate is the subject of a heated debate over whether it causes cancer.

Austria is heading toward a likely ban of glyphosate this year after the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) backed the Social Democrats’ drive to end usage of the controversial weedkiller.

“There are enough studies that adequately demonstrate the risk that glyphosate poses to the environment and human health,” the FPÖ’s new party leader, Norbert Hofer, said Wednesday. “It is therefore a sign of responsible environmental policy to put this ban on track.”

Glyphosate is the subject of a heated debate in Europe and the U.S. over whether the weedkiller causes cancer.

The Social Democrats’ leader, Pamela Rendi-Wagner, said she is “pleased” that her party’s long-standing effort on banning the controversial herbicide would “finally pay off” now that her party’s motion had a majority in the Austrian parliament.

Austria’s center-right People’s Party recently made headlines in Austria when its lead candidate in the European Parliament election, Othmar Karas, said he opposed a general ban of glyphosate.

The Austrian parliament’s committee on agriculture and forestry will now deal with the details of a possible law amendment of a plant protection agent law from 2011, and lawmakers could vote on a ban of glyphosate in the first week of July, Die Presse and AFP reported.

“With regards to an entry of the ban, talks are still underway to give all glyphosate users a transitional period to switch to environmentally sound alternatives that are safe for humans,” Hofer said.