France Stops Bayer from Selling Its Toxic Pesticide

France is taking a leadership role in the fight against environmental and health damage linked to pesticides. On Oct 26, the country revoked the license of Bayer for its glufosinate-ammonium-based pesticide, citing the pesticide’s uncertain health effects.

The French Agency for Food, Environmental, and Occupational Health and Safety, known in the country as ANSES also has a network of laboratories that test products to determine whether they are safe for humans, animals or plants. France’s decision to revoke Bayer’s glyphosate-alternative product containing glufosinate-ammonium came after a review of its health effects.

Glufosinate-ammonium, which is also frequently just called glufosinate, is widely used in agriculture for spraying on vineyards, orchards and vegetable crops. Considered an alternative to the highly controversial, yet heavily used, herbicide glyphosate, which is the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, France’s decision may lead to other countries in the European Union (EU) or elsewhere scrutinizing the safety of glufosinate or other pesticides. Glyphosate has already been the subject of intense scrutiny in the EU over whether its license should be extended or revoked.

If you’ve been following glyphosate’s status in North America, you may already realize that it is on California’s list of cancer-causing substances. Check out my blog on this topic to learn more: Monsanto’s Glyphosate to Be Listed on California’s Cancer-Causing Substances List. While public attention has been on glyphosate (and rightfully so given its potential for significant health and environmental damage), glufosinate has slipped through the cracks with little attention. France’s decision to ban the pesticide for its questionable health effects serves to draw attention to pesticides other than glyphosate that also warrant banning. And, France sends a bold message that toxic pesticides will not be tolerated in the country, serving as an example for other countries to do the same.

The Pesticides Action Network in the United Kingdom (UK) published a comprehensive study on the health and environmental effects of glufosinate. The organization found that the molecular structure of glufosinate is similar to the amino acid glutamate, and which high levels literally stimulate brain and nervous system cells to death. Not surprisingly, they also found that the chemical is linked to disorders of the central nervous system. After eating foods containing the pesticide, the chemical is rapidly absorbed through the gut. Considering its proven damage to soil microbes, it is likely that glufosinate also damages gut microbes in humans, however I’m not aware of any studies testing this theory.

While companies who manufacture glufosinate declare its safety to users, consumers and the environment, Pesticides Action Network has been declaring it unsafe for years. Their research shows that the chemical and its metabolites are harmful neurotoxins that affect development andare linked to brain abnormalities in animals. Additionally, they found that the chemical is damaging to beneficial soil microorganisms and is a threat to wild plants and some aquatic organisms.

While it is too soon to see which other countries will show the leadership France has shown in protecting the health and environment of its citizens, if any, it is my hope that others will follow suit. Considering the lengthy and ongoing degradation of the food supply thanks to widespread and heavy-handed pesticide use, the time has come for regulatory authorities in all countries to stop pandering to corporations who make these toxic substances and start guarding the health and environment of the people who elected them and pay their government salaries. And, felicitations (congratulations) to France for its visionary and insightful decision!

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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-news World’s Healthiest News, president of PureFood BC, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include:  Be Your Own Herbalist:  Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty & Cooking.


Marie W
Marie W7 months ago

Thank you for sharing

Dennis Hall
Dennis Hallabout a year ago


Chad A
Chad Andersonabout a year ago

Good news.

Winn A
Winn Adamsabout a year ago


Bill E
Bill Eagleabout a year ago

Kudos to the French. I suspect that they (unlike the USA) still believe in science.

Ann B
Ann Babout a year ago

ALL countries INCLUDING THE USA needs to follow this example NOW

Linda W
Linda Wallaceabout a year ago

Good for France.

Lynn R
Lynn Rabout a year ago

Bless you France.

Marija M
Marija Mabout a year ago

:)) Thank you France.

Virginia Miller
Virginia Millerabout a year ago