The Council of Agriculture (COA) yesterday said it has no plans to ban weed-killing agent glyphosate, despite a US jury on Friday ruling that it is probably carcinogenic.
In a trial at San Francisco’s Superior Court of California, agrochemical firm Monsanto was ordered to pay US$289 million in damages to a former school groundskeeper named Dewayne Johnson, who alleged that long-term contact with the weed killer caused his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system.
Bayer, which in June completed its takeover of Monsanto, said in a statement it is confident that “glyphosate is safe for use and does not cause cancer when used according to the label,” and that it intends to appeal the verdict, the BBC reported on Saturday.
In view of the case, the ingredient’s use has gained renewed attention in Taiwan, especially as the nation is the world’s top consumer of agro-pesticides per hectare.
Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine Deputy Director-General Chou Hui-chuan (鄒慧娟) yesterday said that Taiwan, unlike the US, does not grow crops that can resist glyphosate, so farmers do not directly apply it to crops under normal circumstances.
While Taiwan used 1,464 tonnes of herbicides containing glyphosate last year, the council has no plans to ban the agent, as its proper use would not endanger crops, Chou said, adding that herbicides that have been proved to be carcinogenic are already banned from agricultural use.
The council last year announced a policy to cut in half domestic agro-pesticides use to 4,570 tonnes, or 6.3kg per hectare, by 2027, and the bureau is planning a classification system of pesticides to encourage farmers to reduce use of more harmful ones, she said.
The bureau has also been working with the Environmental Protection Administration to reduce the use of herbicides in non-agricultural areas, such as schools, parks and graveyards, she said.
Noting that the WHO in 2015 recognized glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” National Taiwan University professor of agronomy Warren Kuo (郭華仁) said the bureau should ask suppliers of herbicides containing the ingredient to place warning signs on the products.
While France and the EU have announced plans to ban the ingredient by 2021 and 2022 respectively, banning a single herbicide is not the best way to protect crops, because other herbicides would still be used, he said.
It would be optimal if farmers would stop using all pesticides and herbicides and adopt organic and environmentally friendly farming methods, Kuo said.
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”
SOUTH WINDS: Taiwan’s southeastern region, as well as central and southern regions, would see regional showers and thundershowers, the Central Weather Bureau said Heavy to extremely heavy rainfall in the afternoon in the next two days might cause damage in affected areas, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said yesterday, urging people to stay vigilant. With the weakening of a Pacific high-pressure system and with a frontal system in the north moving south, the nation would come under the influence of southwest and south winds today, the bureau said. People in the nation’s southeastern region, as well as in central and southern Taiwan, are likely to experience regional showers or thundershowers, it said. Chances of afternoon thundershowers are high nationwide, and people in some regions