EU countries have approved the use of weed-killer glyphosate for the next five years after a heated debate over whether it causes cancer. As Sonia Legg reports, Europe has been wrestling for the past two years over what to do with the chemical, a key ingredient in Monsanto's top-selling Roundup, whose licence was set to expire on Dec. 15.
Protestors hoped they'd convince EU countries not to renew the licence of a controversial weed killer. But their tug-a-war outside the European Commission failed to sway those voting inside. There was heated debate over whether the key ingredient of Monsanto's top-selling Roundup causes cancer. But in the end 18 countries approved the use of glyphosate for another five years. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AVAAZ CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR, LUIS MORAGO, SAYING: "Overall there are some major scientific and medical issues. Not only is there a mass of evidence about the impact on the environment, but also we are growingly seeing a huge body of evidence - independent evidence - linking glyphosate with cancer." The chemical has been used by farmers for more than 40 years. Its safety was cast in doubt in 2015 when a World Health Organisation agency concluded it probably causes cancer. Then in March this year the European Chemicals Agency released a study which showed no links to the disease in humans. Many farmers were against a ban saying the economic cost of controlling weeds without the chemical would be too great. But nine countries did vote against the renewal - this may not be the last protest about its use.