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Thailand set to ban glyphosate

Thailand is set to join its south-east Asian neighbour Vietnam in banning the use of the herbicide glyphosate after the nation's government regulator the National Hazardous Substances Committee voted to phase out its use.

Two other popular crop protection products in the herbicide paraquat and the insecticide chlorpyrifos are also on the chopping block. All three products are still available in Australia for agricultural use but paraquat has been banned in Europe for over a decade and chlorpyrifos is not available for household use in Australia.

Glyphosate, which has endured endless controversy over the past four years since the International Agency for Research in Cancer (IARC) deemed it to be a 'probable' carcinogen. It has been totally banned in Austria, with a host of other European nations, such as the Czech Republic and France all pushing to either vastly restrict its use or phase it out.

The attitudes towards farm chemicals in south-east Asia have changed dramatically in recent years.

Formerly known for their liberal use of chemicals and the fact products banned elsewhere in the world due to health or environmental concerns were still available, Thailand and Vietnam are now transitioning to some of the toughest regulatory frameworks in the world.

Thai farmers have protested the decision but in spite of 40 per cent of the Thai workforce still involved in agriculture and the large amount of votes it commands the decision looks set to be passed officially before the end of the year.


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