Thailand will soon ban three highly controversial pesticides: glyphosate, paraquat, and chlorpyrifos.
The ban was approved Tuesday by the country’s National Hazardous Substances Committee, and is slated to take effect on December 1st.
Thailand’s agricultural industry, which employs more than 40% of the country’s population, had pushed for the continued use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto Roundup. However, in March 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer declared glyphosate a probable human carcinogen after an independent review linked occupational exposure to an increased risk of cancer, especially non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and its various subtypes.
Bayer AG, which acquired Monsanto in June 2018, is currently defending thousands of Roundup cancer lawsuits in courts around the United States, where three juries have already awarded multi-million verdicts to plaintiffs. While Bayer denies any link between glyphosate and cancer, the company has indicated it would consider a reasonable global settlement and is currently participating in negotiations aimed at resolving the massive litigation.
Vietnam has already banned glyphosate, while Austria recently became the first nation in the European Union to approve such a ban. France is slated to phase out the use of glyphosate by 2023, and the pesticide is restricted in the Czech Republic, Italy and the Netherlands.
Paraquat is the active ingredient in Syngenta’s Gramoxone.
Highly toxic, just a single sip of paraquat can prove fatal, while low doses of paraquat can cause eye damage, kidney or heart failure, lung damage, and liver injury. Multiple studies also suggest that farmers and agriculture workers exposed to paraquat face a significantly increased risk of Parkinson’s disease.
The European Union and 33 other countries, including China and Brazil, have already banned paraquat. However, its use is growing in the United States, mainly due to the emergence of weeds that have become resistant to glyphosate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires that paraquat be applied by certified applicators who have undergone specialized training.
Like all pesticides, the EPA must revisit paraquat’s approval every 15 years. That review is currently underway, with the agency leaning towards reapproval, despite growing concerns over paraquat’s health and environmental impacts.
A growing number of paraquat lawsuits have been filed in courts around the United States that allege exposure to the pesticide caused Parkinson’s disease.
Chlorpyrifos has been linked to developmental delays in children, including reduced IQ, loss of working memory, and attention deficit disorders.
Earlier this month, the state of California announced it would ban the use chlorpyrifos beginning in 2020.
For years, environmental justice advocates have fought to get the harmful pesticide chlorpyrifos out of our communities,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement announcing the pesticide ban. “Thanks to their tenacity and the work of countless others, this will now occur faster than originally envisioned. This is a big win for children, workers and public health in California.”
The pesticide is already prohibited in Hawaii.
While the EPA proposed banning chlorpyrifos in 2015, the decision was reversed during the first three months of the Trump administration.