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Finland moves to weed out controversial herbicide

Finland's chemical safety watchdog TUKES is planning to limit the use of the herbicide glyphosate in the vicinity of daycares and parks.

Lapsi keinuu värikkäissä vaatteissa päiväkodin keinussa.
Public health watchdogs want to limit children's exposure to glyphosate, a herbicide some believe may be carcinogenic. Image: Päivi Köngäs / Yle

The Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (TUKES) is restricting the use of the herbicide glyphosate in public spaces, such as parks, public playgrounds and gardens, reports Uutissuomalainen, a local news conglomerate.

Glyphosate, the active substance in the Monsanto’s popular weedkiller Roundup, has drawn much controversy as the EU continues to allow its sale while a US court this month ordered Monsanto to pay 289 million dollars in damages for giving a former school groundskeeper cancer.

Kaija Kallio-Mannila of TUKES says EU rules force member states to curb glyphosate use in sensitive areas.

At the moment, the EU Commission must sign off on the safety of chemical substances before national authorities can issue sales permits.

In 2017, The World Health Organization's cancer agency said glyphosate was "probably carcinogenic,” while in the same year the EU Commission renewed its approval of glyphosate for the next five years, citing a lack of evidence to link glyphosate to cancer in humans.

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