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March 6, 2019

Brazilian Agency Allows for Continued use of Glyphosate Herbicide

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

After years of study, the Brazilian Health Agency (Anvisa) concluded last week that herbicides containing the active ingredient glyphosate do not pose a cancer risk and as a result, they may continue to be used in Brazil. Brazil prohibits the use of any agricultural chemical that could eventually cause cancer. Glyphosate is primarily sold as Roundup Herbicide, which is the number one herbicide used in Brazil.

This is a preliminary approval and Anvisa will allow the public to present new evidence if they wish for 180 days before their final approval. Anvisa did recommend a series of precautions to lower exposure limits for farm workers who apply the herbicide and they are expected to maintain that agricultural chemicals should not be used within a secure distance from inhabited areas.

This comes as a relief for Brazilian farmers who have come to rely on Roundup for their crop production. Late last year, a local judge in Brazil prohibited the use of Roundup until Anvisa finished their study. An appellate court issued an injunction on the ruling and the then Minister of Agriculture, Blairo Maggi, indicated that a sudden prohibition on the use of Roundup would be catastrophic for Brazilian agriculture. He stated at the time, that if they wanted to phase out the use of Roundup, it had to be done over a number of years in order to allow farmers to find alternative herbicides.