Weedkillers containing both the controversial glyphosate and POE-tallowamine can no longer be sold in Malta, and their use will be completely banned come April.
The ban comes days after the release of a study showing the glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup caused liver disease in rats. The findings are the first to show a causal link between its consumption at a real-world environmental dose and a serious condition.
The dose, given to rats as part of the study over two years, was thousands of times below what is allowed by regulators worldwide, but the animals ultimately suffered from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Regulators worldwide accept toxicity studies in rats as indicators of human health risks, so the study results could have serious consequences for human health. Last summer, the Environment Ministry said the government had begun the process to ban the chemical, a “probable human carcinogen” according to the World Health Organisation’s cancer agency.
Asked yesterday, whether the banning of the use of glyphosate has been implemented, a Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority spokeswoman said yesterday that Malta had revoked “with immediate effect products which contain the active substance glyphosate and which include the co-formulant POE-tallowamine”.
They later clarified that the ban only concerns products which contained both glyphosate and the co-formulant POE-tallowamine.
The use of stock, she said, was being allowed until today for sale purposes and distribution. The disposal, storage and use of existing stocks of the plant protection products was being allowed until April 12.
When asked whether it had phased out its use of all products containing glyphosate, the Environmental Landscapes Consortium said: “ELC is in the process of phasing out the use of the product and hopes that it will be able to complete the exercise within the next few months. For the record, ELC’s consistent practice was always to use the product sparingly in the absence of other feasible alternatives.”A spokesman clarified that the ELC did not stock products containing glyphosate.