Glyphosate is the most used herbicide or pesticide in the world, with hundreds of millions of pounds being used every year across the globe. While the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has determined that glyphosate is probably a cancer-causing agent in humans, the chemical remains in widespread use.
Still, several countries around the world have taken steps to limit glyphosate use or ban it altogether. The legal status of glyphosate and Roundup is ever-evolving, so check back frequently for updates to this page.
In This Section
- New Zealand
- Sri Lanka
- United States
Status: No national ban in place, but more than 400 cities and towns have restricted glyphosate use; glyphosate-resistant seed is banned
Timing: Glyphosate-resistant soybean seed was banned in 2017 in response to the European Union’s debate over whether to ban the weedkiller
Argentina is the world’s third largest producer of soybeans, behind only Brazil and the United States, and estimates have placed glyphosate use in Argentina at about 80 million gallons per year. No nationwide ban is in place, but the country has banned the use of genetically modified glyphosate resistant soybeans in an effort to curb usage. Some activists point to the placement and promotion of several government officials with ties to Monsanto as one reason why glyphosate is not outright banned in Argentina.
Status: Ban overturned in court, but final determination not yet made
Timing: A judge initially issued a ban on glyphosate products in August 2018
The use of glyphosate in Brazil continues, and the long-term use of the chemical in the nation is unclear. A judge in August 2018 ruled that new products containing glyphosate could not be registered in the country, which has a law that bans any agrochemical products that are found to cause cancer. A month after that ruling, another judge struck down the injunction against glyphosate products, and in February 2019, the nation’s health agency determined that glyphosate does not cause cancer, though the final decision on whether to permit glyphosate’s usage has not yet been made. Brazil is the largest exporter of soy and is one of the leading exporters of corn, which helps explain why glyphosate is sprayed on about 95% of the coy, corn and cotton harvested in the country.
Status: Public and private uses of glyphosate are mostly banned in Vancouver; no national ban
Timing: Early in 2019, the nation’s health ministry reaffirmed its view that glyphosate is safe
Vancouver has banned both public and private application of glyphosate for anything but controlling invasive weed species, and the chemical is heavily regulated in eight of 10 Canadian provinces, which limit the use of the herbicide in public spaces. Still, with a recent affirmation by health officials that their review of glyphosate was truly independent, it seems unlikely any action will be taken on a national level in Canada beyond updating the product’s labels to clarify where and how the product can be used. Glyphosate is the most widely used pesticide in Canada, and one study found residue of the chemical in 98% of Canadian honey samples tested.
Status: Aerial spraying is banned, but government officials recently succeeded in convincing the nation’s highest court to reconsider the ban
Timing: Banned since 2015
Colombia’s highest court has agreed to hear arguments over whether the nation, the world’s largest producer of coca, the raw ingredient of cocaine, can resume its former practice of spraying coca fields from the sky with glyphosate. Despite serious questions over whether aerial spraying is effective at all in destroying coca plants (after all, they can just be replanted), the Colombian government’s efforts to resume its glyphosate program are getting a boost from U.S. President Donald Trump, who promised to double spending on fighting drug production in Colombia if the country would resume spraying glyphosate.
Status: Roundup Pro360 banned; French President Emmanuel Macron has sought to mostly eliminate glyphosate-based weedkillers by 2021
Timing: Roundup Pro360 ban issued by environmental safety agency in January 2019
The French president initially committed the country to completely eliminating all use of glyphosate-based weedkillers by 2021, but he has since acknowledged that such a swift elimination of glyphosate would be difficult if not impossible. France is Europe’s largest producer of grain, and French winemakers have expressed fears over completely eliminating glyphosate, which is used heavily in grape production. French vineyards have pledged to halve their glyphosate use by 2020.
Status: No national ban
Timing: Chemical reauthorized in 2018
Greece was one of nine European Union countries that in 2017 voted against relicensing glyphosate for use by member nations and has called for the EU to develop a plan to reduce and eventually completely eliminate the use of glyphosate. Despite the nation’s previous concerns over glyphosate, the national agriculture agency in 2018 reauthorized Roundup through 2023.
Status: Banned for pre-harvest use
Timing: Ban in place since 2016, and Italy was one of the EU nations to vote against relicensing glyphosate in 2017
Several restrictions are in place in Italy, and the country was one of nine EU member nations to oppose reauthorizing glyphosate when it came up for EU review in 2017, and in 2016 the chemical was banned as a pre-harvest treatment for any crops. The use of glyphosate is also heavily restricted in public spaces. Italian pasta company Barilla cut its imports of Canadian wheat by 35 percent over fears among many in Italy that Canadian wheat contains too much glyphosate.
Status: Spray herbicides banned in public green spaces, but no other nationwide restrictions
Timing: Voted with eight other EU members against reauthorizing glyphosate in 2017
Glyphosate is not banned on a national level in Luxembourg, but use of the chemical has fallen dramatically since the International Agency for Research on Cancer ruled that the chemical was a likely human carcinogen. A supermarket chain in the country pulled Roundup and other glyphosate products from shelves in 2016, and usage of glyphosate for farming in the country dropped nearly 25% between 2011 and 2016.
Status: No ban
Timing: Voted against EU relicensing in 2017
Jose Herrera, environment minister of Malta, said in July 2016 that the government was in the process of banning glyphosate, but he later retracted those statements, saying in 2017 that Malta cannot ban glyphosate without the endorsement of the EU. Malta was one of the nine EU countries that voted not to relicense glyphosate.
Status: Banned for non-commercial uses
Timing: Ban passed in 2015
Long before other countries began reviewing the use of glyphosate, elected officials in the Netherlands were seeking widespread bans on Roundup and other glyphosate products. A partial ban passed in 2011, but it allowed so many exceptions that use of the chemical continued largely unabated. In 2015, though, the legislature passed a full ban on non-commercial uses of glyphosate in the Netherlands, though the chemical still can be used for agricultural purposes.
Status: No national ban, but some cities have banned glyphosate in public spaces
Timing: A public official in 2018 sought a classification of glyphosate as hazardous, but no changes took place
Both Auckland and Christchurch, New Zealand’s two largest cities, have bans against glyphosate use in public spaces, such as parks and sports fields. An associate environment minister asked the Environmental Protection Authority in 2018 to reclassify glyphosate as hazardous, but the agency did not. The country does not allow Roundup-Ready crops, and it does not permit Roundup to be used as a desiccant as it is in many other countries.
Status: Glyphosate banned in public spaces, and groups have called for a total ban
Timing: Calls for glyphosate to be banned in Portugal were renewed in 2019
Portugal does not permit glyphosate to be used in any public spaces, such as parks, green spaces or sports fields. Recent testing done in the country revealed high levels of glyphosate in the urine samples of people in the country, and advocacy group Plataforma Transgénicos Fora in 2019 called for the substance to be banned in Portugal.
Status: No national ban
Timing: Most of Scotland’s EU delegates voted against recertifying glyphosate in 2017
The city of Aberdeen has moved to reduce the use of Roundup and glyphosate, while Edinburgh has taken the further step of voting to fully phase it out. Five of the country’s six European Union parliamentarians voted against the decision to permit the use of glyphosate in the EU when it came up for vote in 2017; they also voted to phase out the use of the herbicide by 2022.
Status: No ban
Timing: Leaders signed a letter in 2018 asking the EU to come up with a phase-out plan for glyphosate
No national bans exist, but the country is one of six European Union member nations to sign a letter in 2018 that asked the EU’s governing body to begin formulating a plan to eliminate glyphosate use in the EU. The nation’s agriculture minister has said Slovenia wants to see glyphosate eliminated with a three- to five-year transitional period.
Status: No national ban, but several cities and regions have issued or considered bans
Timing: In 2018, the a political party in Spain called for an immediate ban
The cities of Barcelona, Madrid, Zaragoza and Extremuda have agreed to ban the chemical, and the La Rioja and Aragon regions have adopted motions against chemicals found to disrupt the human endocrine system, a list that includes glyphosate. Equo, Spain’s green party, in 2018 called for an immediate ban of glyphosate, though the ban was never adopted on a national level.
Status: Partial ban on imports
Timing: Full ban issued in 2015, partially lifted in 2018
Glyphosate imports were banned in Sri Lanka in 2015 over fears that the chemical was connected to a kidney disease epidemic in regions of the country. That ban was lifted in 2018, but use was restricted to rubber plantations and tea.
Status: Ban on private use of some pesticides and herbicides
Timing: Rules were expected to go into effect in 2019
In 2017, the Swedish Chemicals Agency announced that it had moved to tighten regulations on the chemicals individuals could use on plants, allowing only those that present very low risk. The effect would likely be to ban glyphosate, which is not included on the EU’s list of low-risk herbicides and pesticides. Most glyphosate products already were restricted to professional uses only.
Status: No ban
Timing: Several organizations in 2016 called for a glyphosate ban, but that was rejected
The Swiss food safety office in 2018 issued a report saying that glyphosate was not a health risk despite residue of the herbicide being found in some food products. That report came just a couple of years after calls by several advocacy groups to issue a total national ban on glyphosate in Switzerland, but the petition was rejected. But concerns over public health led the grocery chains Migros and Coop to pull glyphosate-based products from their shelves in 2015.
Status: No national ban
Timing: 2019 alone has seen several jury verdicts and several more trials get underway linking glyphosate and Roundup to cancer
No national ban exists in the United States, but several states and cities have moved to ban or curb the use of glyphosate and other herbicides and pesticides. Recently, ATSDR Report Confirms Glyphosate Cancer Risks. This public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) released the long-awaited Draft Toxicological Profile for Glyphosate. And, it supports and strengthens the 2015 cancer assessment of another health agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
Status: Banned for import
Timing: New ban, effective date undetermined
Shortly after a second jury verdict was issued in California that linked glyphosate to cancer, authorities in Vietnam moved to ban the import of any glyphosate-based herbicides, which is the latest chapter in the nation’s long history against Monsanto. Products already in circulation will not be affected by the ban, according to local news reports, and the nation’s plant protection department has reported that about 30,000 tons of the chemical are used in Vietnam every year. Vietnam has a rough history with Monsanto, the company that first introduced glyphosate as an herbicide; the nation has repeatedly called on the company to compensate Vietnamese victims of the Monsanto-produced Agent Orange.
- Buenos Aires Times, Glyphosate use on the rise in Argentina, despite controversy. (2018.) Retrieved from http://www.batimes.com.ar/news/economy/glyphosate-use-on-the-rise-in-argentina-despite-controversy.phtml
- MercoPress, Argentina moves to ban glyphosate and allows other herbicides. (2017.) Retrieved from https://en.mercopress.com/2017/11/27/argentina-moves-to-ban-glyphosate-and-allows-other-herbicides
- Reuters, Brazil health officials find weed-killer glyphosate. (2019.) Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-brazil-agriculture-glyphosate/brazil-health-officials-find-weed-killer-glyphosate-non-cancerous-idUSKCN1QF1J1
- Reuters, Brazil court overturns ban on weed-killer glyphosate. (2018.) Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-brazil-agriculture/brazil-court-overturns-ban-on-weed-killer-glyphosate-idUSKCN1LJ1D7
- Reuters, Ban on glyphosate would be ‘disaster’ for Brazil agriculture: minister. (2018.) Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-brazil-agriculture-chemicals/ban-on-glyphosate-would-be-disaster-for-brazil-agriculture-minister-idUSKBN1L11Y7
- CountryGuide, The other glyphosate ‘resistance’. (2016.) Retrieved from https://www.country-guide.ca/guide-business/who-is-supporting-a-glyphosate-ban-in-canada-and-what-can-farmers-do-about-it/49880/
- Environmental Defence, Part 1: Three more reasons why we can’t be confident in Health Canada’s conclusion that glyphosate is safe. (2019.) Retrieved from https://environmentaldefence.ca/2019/01/24/health-canada-glyphosate-safe/
- CBC News, Glyphosate labels to change, Health Canada announces. (2017.) Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/glyphosate-1.4091495
- Environmental Health News, Weed killer residues found in 98 percent of Canadian honey samples. (2019.) Retrieved from https://www.ehn.org/weed-killer-residues-found-in-98-percent-of-canadian-honey-samples-2632384800.html
- Colombia Reports, Colombia’s government virtually alone in call to resume glyphosate fumigation. (2019.) Retrieved from https://colombiareports.com/colombias-government-virtually-alone-in-call-to-resume-glysophate-fumigation/
- InSight Crime, A Death Foretold: Colombia’s Crop Substitution Program. (2019.) Retrieved from https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/a-death-foretold-colombias-crop-substitution-program/
- Luxembourg Times, Cactus bans Roundup herbicide. (2015.) Retrieved from https://luxtimes.lu/archives/11087-cactus-bans-roundup-herbicide
- RTL Today, The use of glyphosate has fallen substantially in Luxembourg. (2019.) Retrieved from https://today.rtl.lu/news/luxembourg/a/1325666.html
- Phys.org, French vineyards say ready to break glyphosate addiction. (2019.) Retrieved from https://phys.org/news/2019-02-french-vineyards-ready-glyphosate-addiction.html Phys.org, France takes Roundup weed-killer off market after court ruling. (2019.) Retrieved from https://phys.org/news/2019-01-france-roundup-weed-killer-court.html
- Reuters, France suggests glyphosate exit could be even slower than planned. (2019.) Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-agriculture-glyphosate/france-suggests-glyphosate-exit-could-be-even-slower-than-planned-idUSKCN1Q41S0
- Euractiv, Greece authorises Monsanto’s Roundup for five years, (2018.) Retrieved from https://www.euractiv.com/section/agriculture-food/news/greece-authorises-monsantos-roundup-for-five-years/
- European Biomass Industry Association, Italy and France moving towards a phase out of glyphosate. (2018.) Retrieved from http://www.eubia.org/cms/2018/02/05/exemption-for-the-glyphosate-ban-in-france/
- Times of Malta, Controversy over weedkiller glyphosate rages on. (2017.) Retrieved from https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20171030/local/controversy-over-weedkiller-glyphosate-rages-on.661619
- Sustainable Pulse, Dutch Parliament Bans Glyphosate Herbicides for Non-Commercial Use. (2014.) Retrieved from https://sustainablepulse.com/2014/04/04/dutch-parliament-bans-glyphosate-herbicides-non-commercial-use/#.XK5njFVKiUk
- Collective Evolution, Why The Netherlands Just Banned Monsanto’s Glyphosate-Based Herbicides. (2015.) Retrieved from https://www.collective-evolution.com/2015/05/30/why-the-netherlands-just-banned-monsantos-glyphosate-based-herbicides/
- New Zealand Food Safety Agency, Glyphosate. (2019.) Retrieved from https://www.mpi.govt.nz/food-safety/whats-in-our-food/chemicals-and-food/agricultural-compounds-and-residues/glyphosate/
- NZ Herald, Roundup controversy and NZ: All you need to know. (2018.) Retrieved from https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12108142
- Algarve Daily News, Portugal’s glyphosate levels way above recommended. (2019.) Retrieved from https://algarvedailynews.com/news/16208-portugal-s-glyphosate-levels-way-above-recommended
- Farmers Guardian, Why did Scotland’s MEPs vote against glyphosate? (2017.) Retrieved from https://www.fginsight.com/news/news/why-did-scotlands-meps-vote-against-glyphosate-42055
- STA, Slovenia for ban on glyphosate with 3- to 5-year transitional period. (2017.) Retrieved from https://english.sta.si/2447523/slovenia-for-ban-on-glyphosate-with-3-to-5-year-transitional-period
- The Olive Press, Green Party in Spain Calls for Ban on Monsanto-Developed Herbicide Linked to Terminal Cancer, (2018.) Retrieved from
- Phys.org, Glyphosate under fire from San Francisco to Sri Lanka. (2019.) Retrieved from https://phys.org/news/2019-03-glyphosate-san-francisco-sri-lanka.html
- GM Watch, Sri Lanka lifts glyphosate ban. (2018.) Retrieved from https://www.gmwatch.org/en/news/latest-news/18353-sri-lanka-lifts-glyphosate-ban
- Swedish Chemicals Agency, The Swedish Chemicals Agency is planning to tighten the rules on private use of plant protection products. (2017.) Retrieved from https://www.kemi.se/en/news-from-the-swedish-chemicals-agency/2017/the-swedish-chemicals-agency-is-planning-to-tighten-the-rules-on-private-use-of-plant-protection-products/
- European Union, Official Journal of the European Union, Commission Notice concerning list of potentially low-risk active substances approved for use in plant protection. (2018.) Retrieved from https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52018XC0727(01)&rid=7
- Xinhua, Vietnam bans cancer-causing U.S. herbicides. (2019.) Retrieved from http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-03/27/c_137927691.htm