File photo: Minister of Health and Social Protection, Alejandro Gaviria
Press Release No. 182, 2016
Video: Statements of the Minister of Health, Alejandro Gaviria, on the prohibition of glyphosate aerial spraying
Audio: From Cartagena, the Minister of Health talks about the prohibition of glyphosate aerial spraying
- The Government responds to the proposal by the Attorney General to restart the aerial spraying of illicit crops.
Bogotá, September 4, 2016. "All the reasons for the prohibition of glyphosate aerial spraying are still in force," said the Minister of Health and Social Protection, Alejandro Gaviria, in response to the proposal to restart these fumigations, by the Attorney General, Nestor Humberto Martinez.
Glyphosate aerial spraying to eradicate coca crops were suspended in October 2015 as a result of assessing a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) classifying glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans" in addition to complying with a Constitutional Court ruling in the sense that the precautionary principle be applied in the event of not finding a definitive conclusion on the absence of risks from the use of this herbicide.
Glyphosate was classified as "probably carcinogenic for humans" after a meeting of experts from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of WHO, the results of which were published on March 20, 2015 in The Lancet Oncology medical journal.
From the available evidence, the IARC concluded that exposure to glyphosate could be related to the origination of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (a type of cancer of the lymph tissue) in humans, and it noted that in animal experiments, exposure to the herbicide increased probability of other diseases such as renal tubular carcinoma, hemangiosarcoma (a cancer that begins in the lining of blood vessels), skin tumors and pancreatic adenoma (tumors in the pancreas).
According to the Ministry, the risks are significantly reduced in illicit crop fumigation, because spraying is on land, and occupational safety and risk mitigation protocols are used and followed.
In addition, in illicit crop spraying, people are unable to express their acceptance or not to be exposed to risk, unlike what happens in legal crop spraying.