Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development banned the import of glyphosate on Wednesday after a series of legal defeats for Bayer in U.S. civil lawsuits alleging the weed killer caused cancer.
Vietnam Director of Plant Protection Hoang Trung said during a news conference on Wednesday the action was taken because glyphosate affects the environment and is harmful to human health.
At the end of March, a California jury awarded $80 million to a man with non-Hodgkin lymphoma who had used glyphosate at an animal refuge for nearly 30 years. Last year, another jury in the state awarded $287 million to a groundskeeper with cancer who used the chemical. In all, there are 11,200 lawsuits aimed at glyphosate.
Charla Lord, media communications, corporate engagement and preparedness for Bayer, said Vietnam’s decision is likely to hurt both farmers and consumers.
“Unfortunately, today’s decision banning glyphosate will not help to improve food security, safety or sustainability in the country,” she said. “Importantly, Bayer is not aware of any new scientific assessment undertaken by the government of Vietnam on which the decision is based. Reportedly, it was driven by developments in litigation taking place in the United States.
“This litigation does not change the overwhelming weight of over four decades of extensive science and the conclusions of regulators worldwide that support the safety of glyphosate-based herbicide products.”
Lord said EPA, the European Food Safety Authority, as well as regulatory agencies in Canada, Japan, Australia, Korea, Brazil and other countries, “routinely review all approved pesticide products and have consistently reaffirmed” that glyphosate is not carcinogenic.
“We have seen the unfortunate impact of denying farmers access to such an essential tool,” she said.
Sri Lanka, for example, imposed a glyphosate ban in 2015. The ban was reversed in 2018 after local farmers became vocal about the economic effects to their businesses.