Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

A French mayor banned the pesticide glysophate from areas near homes in his village and inspired other municipalities to do the same.

A French mayor banned the pesticide glysophate from areas near homes in his village and inspired other municipalities to do the same. (Photo: USAID Egypt/cc/flickr)

After Mayor of Small Village Bans Glyphosate, Dozens of Others Join Rebellion Against French Law

Tests on the people of Langouët showed levels of glyphosate—one of the most widely used herbicides and the active ingredient in RoundUp—in their urine up to 30 times the recommended limit. It was especially high in children.

Eoin Higgins

After the mayor of a small French village banned the pesticide gysophate from land near homes and businesses in his municipality, the government took him to court—and sparked a movement as 20 other mayors across the western European country joined in barring the pesticide from their towns and cities. 

Daniel Cueff, the mayor of Langouët, a village in France's northwest with around 600 residents, made the decision to ban the pesticide earlier in the year after the chemical began showing up in high levels in the urine of town residents.

As The New York Times reported:

Tests on the people of Langouët showed levels of glyphosate—one of the most widely used herbicides and the active ingredient in RoundUp—in their urine up to 30 times the recommended limit. It was especially high in children.

While French President Emanuel Macron promised in 2017 to ban glyphosate around the country by 2020, he later amended that promise to say it was impossible. 

Cueff said he decided to act after seeing that, in his view, the national government wasn't going to do enough for the people of his village. 

"Isn't the mayor of a village called on to fill in for the state’s deficiencies?" said Cueff. 

But the French government didn't react kindly to the mayor taking matters into his own hands, bringing Cueff to court where it argued he did not have the authority to enact such a ban. The judge struck down the village ordinance, as Reuters reported in August. 

There's a inconsistency there, Cueff told the Times:

Mr. Cueff says he doesn't understand why, on the one hand, the state barred town governments in 2017 from using glyphosate, but still allowed its use on farms cheek by jowl with small towns.

"This is a contradictory message," he said. "Here in Langouët there are no contradictory positions."

At least 40 municipalities have followed Cueff's lead. The mayor said that shows that change is coming.

"Twenty years ago we were a bit alone," said Cueff. "They thought we were exaggerating. Today it's the opposite. People come to me and ask if they can't do more."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Citing 'Unprecedented Crisis,' House Dems Push Biden to Protect Haitians From Deportation

Warning of "mortal danger," one advocacy group argues extending and redesignating Temporary Protected Status for Haitians "is a matter of life and death."

Jessica Corbett ·


Pentagon Fails Another Audit, Yet Congress Poised to Approve $847 Billion Budget

"This isn't using our taxpayer dollars wisely," said the National Priorities Project. "It's robbing programs that we need, like the discontinued child tax credit that cut child poverty by half."

Kenny Stancil ·


Experts Warn 'Doomsday Scenario' for Colorado River Basin Possible in 2023

"The problem with massive projects like Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon Dam," said one climate journalist, "is they were engineered for a climate that no longer exists."

Julia Conley ·


Starbucks Violated Law and Must Bargain With Union in Seattle: NLRB

The coffee giant, which plans to appeal, "is continuing its aggressive anti-union campaign against workers by delaying, confusing, and flat-out refusing to bargain with them," said Starbucks Workers United.

Jessica Corbett ·


Three UK Universities Ban Fossil Fuel Industry Recruiters From Campus

"It is vital that our universities show with actions, not words, that they are taking the side of climate justice, and not of the industries driving us deeper into a climate crisis," said one campaigner.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo