By Sarah Gonzalez, Director of Communications and Digital Media
Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) announced April 10 the country will ban glyphosate.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue responded in an April 11 statement, saying that the decision “will have devastating impacts on global agricultural production.”
“USDA has shared scientific studies with MARD from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other internationally recognized regulatory bodies concluding that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans,” Perdue said. “This ban flies on the face of that scientific evidence,” adding that the country neglected to provide the required notification to the World Trade Organization about the regulatory change.
“Vietnam also needs to look at the potential ramifications for its own farmers…there’s the very real risk that Vietnam’s farmers will turn to unregulated, illegal chemical products in place of glyphosate,” he said.
Vietnam’s ban on the production and import of the herbicide will take effect 60 days after Wednesday’s decision, with a full ban on its use taking effect 12 months after that, according to MARD. There are more than 100 commercial products containing glyphosate registered for use in Vietnam.
Bayer, which last year acquired Monsanto and its glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup, said the ban will not improve food security or safety in Vietnam, and noted that the country did not base its decision on any new scientific assessment.
Two recent U.S. federal courts in California ruled in favor of two groundskeepers claiming their cancer was caused by long-term exposure to glyphosate and that Monsanto was negligent by failing to warn consumers of the chemical’s cancer risks. Bayer is facing more than 9,000 similar cases.
An April 2019 “toxicological profile” of glyphosate by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, summarized studies on the herbicide’s effects. The profile was inconclusive regarding Roundup’s carcinogenicity. “Most studies found no association between exposure to glyphosate-based products and risk of cancer,” the profile stated, but “a possible association between exposure to glyphosate and risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma could not be ruled out, based on conflicting results.”
A 2015 International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) widely criticized study labeled glyphosate a “probable carcinogen.” But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2017 issued findings contradicting IARC, noting that it “found no other meaningful risks to human health when the product is used according to the pesticide label.”