Colombia's Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas announced this week that his forces will resume use of glyphosate to eradicate coca crops—less than a year after suspending the spray program on cancer concerns. This time, he said, the chemical will be applied manually by ground crews rather than being sprayed from the air. He asserted it will be used in a "manner that does not contaminate," as in "normal agriculture." He failed to say what prompted the resumption of chemical eradication, but emphasized that Colombia's swelling coca production would have an impact on the global cocaine supply.
Last year, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a French-based research arm of World Health Organization, reclassified glyphosate as a carcinogen, prompting Colombia to suspend the spray program.
Ironically, Villegas made his announcement the same week that the parliamentary body of the European Union rejected a proposal to extend authorization for use of glyphosate by another 15 years. Citing ongoing research into carcinogenic and hormonal effects, most European Parliament members only favor extending authorization for seven years.
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