CAP: Immediate ban on the sale of glyphosate-based herbicides

The Consumers Association of Penang reiterate its calls to the authorities to impose an immediate ban on the sale of glyphosate-based herbicides as it is found to be hazardous to humans, wildlife and the environment.

Glyphosate is the chief ingredient in Roundup weed killer, from Monsanto. In Malaysia there are more than 200 herbicide products which contain glyphosate.

Presently 20 countries have banned or restricted the use of this carcinogenic herbicide. The latest being Bangladesh  where its High Court  has directed the government to form an action plan in 90 days to phase out glyphosate containing pesticides, including Roundup, and to introduce safe alternative

In ASEAN  region, Thailand and Vietnam has already imposed a ban or restrict the use of  glyphosate-based herbicides.

Glyphosate is a broad spectrum non-selective systemic herbicide. It is used to eliminate essentially all annual and perennial plants including grasses, sedges, broad- leaved weeds and woody plants. It can be used for a variety of crops, and in horticulture and landscaping. It is also used in our oil palm plantations.

Glyphosate is increasingly associated with health problems such as infertility, birth defects, damage to the nervous system, Parkinson’s disease and several forms of cancer. In addition to health risks to humans, the usage of glyphosate can also lead to loss of biodiversity and at the same time contaminating the underground water.

Glyphosate is one of the most widely used herbicide because it is the weed-killer that genetically modified corn and soybeans are engineered to “tolerate”. Due to this glyphosate is being sprayed over vast tracts of farmland as farmers are confident that their crops will not be harmed by the herbicide.

The majority of the glyphosate-containing herbicides are supplied with various surfactants, to make them water soluble. That allows the herbicide to spread over the plant leaves.

In some reports, the toxicity arising from glyphosate products is said to be enhanced by the surfactant incorporated into the formulation.

Glyphosate residues are neither removed by washing nor broken down by cooking. The herbicide residue remains on food for more than a year, even if processed, dried, or frozen.
Glyphosate not only causes cancer. It is also associated with increased spontaneous abortions, birth defects, skin diseases, and respiratory and neurological disease.

As glyphosate  herbicides causes serious harm to health, wildlife and the environment  there is a compelling case for banning or phasing out glyphosate-based herbicides worldwide and Malaysia should follow this trend.

According to a  study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, glyphosate becomes highly toxic when mixed with ‘hard’ water or heavy metals like arsenic or cadmium that naturally exists within the soil or added as fertilizer.

In view of its toxicity CAP calls on the Ministry of Agriculture to ban glyphosate-based herbicide. Meanwhile agribusiness  should move away from the use of toxic chemicals instead should focus on  the use of safer organic production method.


Press Statement, 23 January 2020