US criticizes Vietnam’s ban on suspected cancer-causing herbicides

US criticizes Vietnam’s ban on suspected cancer-causing herbicides
Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller atomizers are displayed for sale at a garden shop near Brussels, Nov. 27, 2017.

The Trump administration says Vietnam’s decision to ban herbicides with an ingredient suspected of causing cancer will hurt, not help farmers.

Glyphosate is a chief ingredient in the best-selling herbicide Roundup. Vietnam says it will stop importing Roundup and all other weed killers with the chemical in June.

U.S. agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue says he is disappointed in Vietnam’s decision, saying it will have “devastating impacts.”

“If we’re going to feed 10 billion people by 2050, farmers worldwide need all the tools and technologies at our disposal,” he said Thursday.

The World Health Organization has classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” and thousands in the U.S. are suing Bayer, Roundup’s manufacturer, alleging it causes cancer.

Perdue added that U.S. regulators have determined that glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer in humans and that banning it means farmers could turn to other herbicides that are unregulated, illegal, and maybe dangerous.

Perdue accused Vietnam of ignoring what he said is its obligation to inform the World Trade Organization that it will no longer import such chemicals.

But a Vietnamese agriculture official says the decision is “in accordance with the current law, international regulations, and in line with Vietnam’s social-economic conditions.”

Bayer issued a statement Thursday saying 40 years of science and the conclusions of regulators worldwide back the safety of glyphosate-based herbicides.

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