Toxic dispute turns into geographical battle

Dhaka,  Fri,  21 July 2017
Published : 13 Jul 2017, 16:42:25
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Toxic dispute turns into geographical battle

Brussels’ proposal was seemingly unobjectionable: that the EU should cut the amount of a toxic metal in fertilisers to protect consumers. But this laudable aim has turned into a geopolitical battle involving north African security and increased Russian influence over Europe’s food supply, reports a global media Thursday. 

The dispute hinges on proposed restrictions on how much cadmium, which is found in phosphates used to produce fertilisers but can cause cancer and damage organs, should be allowed to be used on European farms. It pits EU member states’ corporate interests against health and environmental concerns, with opponents of the proposals claiming they will harm EU-based producers and gift Russian competitors a large slice of the €25bn market. 

EU fertiliser producers source the majority of their phosphate from Africa but most of the output from the countries’ mines contains high levels of cadmium: for example, Tunisian phosphate contains around 90mg of cadmium per kilogramme. Brussels wants to limit cadmium content in phosphate to 60mg/kg, then to 40mg/kg after three years and ultimately to 20mg/kg.

 
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