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Sunday 18 November 2018

Commission to renew its campaign on Bravo ban

Bottles of Roundup herbicide, a product of Monsanto
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
Bottles of Roundup herbicide, a product of Monsanto (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

Sarah Collins

There is not enough support yet for an EU ban on the key tillage fungicide chlorothalonil, but the Commission is determined to continue lobbying member states on the issue.

At a meeting in Brussels last week, Commission officials made their case to ban the chemical, but did not get enough EU countries on side.

A super-majority of countries with the largest EU populations is required to revoke the chemical's licence.

Any ban would apply gradually, with a phase-out period.

Last year the Commission reauthorised the use of the herbicide glyphosate for five years, but intends to phase out its use in the future.

Chlorothalonil is the active ingredient in Bravo, manufactured by global agri-chemical giant Syngenta. It's most commonly used on cereals, tomatoes and potatoes.

A European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) report on the chemical stated that it causes kidney tumours in rats, and is "very toxic" if inhaled.

Ireland, the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands - the bloc's major users of the chemical -are lobbying to keep it on the market. A ban would also affect US trade relations, diplomats say.

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A Teagasc report earlier this month said that banning chlorothalonil could reduce net margins on for wheat and barley growers by 50-65pc, and that there are no ready alternatives on the market.

EU officials are not dropping their call for a ban, and plan to raise the issue again in the coming weeks.

Roundup ban

Meanwhile, the new French Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume has pledged he will introduce a ban on glyphosate (Roundup) by 2020.

Last week a California judge rejected Monsanto's appeal to overturn a landmark jury verdict in a case involving Roundup.

The judge's ruling largely sided with a former school groundskeeper who won a $289m award over the summer after alleging that his exposure to Roundup weedkiller gave him cancer.

The 46-year-old also alleged that Monsanto had failed to warn him of the risks of using its product.

Monsanto's request for a retrial was denied but the damages award against the company was reduced to $78m.

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