US/Colombia government spray programme is risk to health, says Ministry
Colombia’s Ministry of Health and Social Protection on 27 April recommended a ban on the aerial spraying of glyphosate herbicides (such as Roundup) to eradicate illicit crops in the country, due to the negative effects the chemical can cause to the health of local inhabitants.
In a statement, the Health Ministry argued that "under its protection obligations and in accord with the orders issued by the Constitutional Court”, it is urging the authorities not to continue using the herbicide. According to the Ministry, there should be a "immediate” suspension of “glyphosate use in aerial spraying to eradicate illicit crops" because it represents "an unavoidable danger of possible adverse effects to health".
The Program for the Eradication of Illicit Crops by aerial spraying with the herbicide glyphosate (PECIG) has been a strategy of the governments of Colombia and the United States since 1994. It seeks to control coca plantations in several regions of the country.
The recommendation was made just hours after the US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, William Brownfield, defended the use of glyphosate and gave assurances in an interview with the local radio station Caracol Radio that the herbicide does not cause cancer as indicated by the WHO. Newspaper reports claim that Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos will order in the next hours the suspension of use of the chemical.