After cancer scare, CAP calls for ban on weedkillers with glyphosate

The Consumers Association of Penang says countries like Bangladesh, Thailand and Vietnam have either banned or are phasing out the use of this sort of weedkiller. (Reuters pic)

GEORGE TOWN: A consumer group wants all products with glyphosate, an ingredient used in a popular weedkiller, to be banned over concerns it could be harmful to humans and animals.

Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) president Mohideen Abdul Kader said some 20 countries had banned or restricted the use of the herbicide, which is said to cause cancer.

He said there were more than 200 herbicides with glyphosate, which were used for a variety of crops and in oil palm plantations in Malaysia.

“Glyphosate residues are neither removed by washing nor broken down by cooking. The herbicide residue remains in food for more than a year, even if processed, dried or frozen.

Mohideen Abdul Kader.

“It not only causes cancer but is also associated with increased spontaneous abortions, birth defects, skin diseases, and respiratory and neurological disease.

“As this is harmful to health, the wildlife and the environment, there is a compelling case for banning or phasing out glyphosate-based herbicides worldwide and Malaysia should follow this trend,” he said in a statement today.

He said glyphosate was one of the most widely-used herbicides because it was a weedkiller that genetically modified corn and soybeans had been engineered to “tolerate”.

Mohideen said a court in Bangladesh had ordered the government to phase out glyphosate from pesticides and introduce a safe alternative. Closer to home, Thailand and Vietnam had imposed a ban or restricted the use of glyphosate.

“In view of its toxicity, CAP calls on the agriculture ministry to ban the glyphosate-based herbicide.

“Meanwhile, agribusiness should move away from the use of toxic chemicals and should instead focus on the use of the safer organic production method.”