Austrian parliament votes to ban cancer-linked weed killer glyphosate

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Austrian parliament votes to ban cancer-linked weed killer glyphosate

Austrian lawmakers in parliament's lower house voted on Tuesday to ban all uses of glyphosate - the ingredient in many weed killers including the infamous brand Roundup - over concerns it can cause cancer, said Euronews.

Next week, the country's Federal Council will vote on the ban, which is expected to be passed, noted CNN.

If passed, the law will take effect on January 1, 2020. Though this could potentially set up a legal battle with the EU, the publication added.

The ban would be in conflict with EU law as glyphosate is cleared for use in the bloc until December 2022.

Still, many political leaders think the herbicide's risks are too great to ignore.

"The scientific evidence for the plant poison's carcinogenic effect is increasing. It is our responsibility to ban this poison from our environment," Pamela Rendi-Wagner, the leader of Austria's Social Democrats said in a statement on Tuesday.

"A plant poison that is suspected of being carcinogenic, should simply no longer be used," CNN quoted her explaining.

"With the glyphosate ban from 2020 Austria is the first country in the European Union to ban this poison for the well-being and protection of people.

"There is hope that other European countries will follow the Austrian example."

Meanwhile, Bayer, the parent company of Roundup maker Monsanto, responded to the ban with a statement saying that it expects the European Commission to review this decision critically.

The company also emphasized that the ban may be inconsistent with mandatory legal requirements and scientific reasoning.

In 2015, the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer said that glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic to humans."

Since WHO's classification, thousands of cancer patients in the U.S. who used Roundup have sued Monsanto.

Many cases are still pending at the federal or state level.

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