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Colombia suspending use of anti-coca herbicide over health concerns

FILE - In this June 4, 2008 file photo, a police plane sprays herbicides over coca fields in El Tarra, in the Catatumbo river area, near Colombia's northeastern border with Venezuela. Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos said Saturday, May 9, 2015 that he’s halting use of a herbicide that’s a key part of U.S.-financed efforts to wipe out cocaine crops, saying he’s taking the move following a Health Ministry recommendation based on a World Health Organization decision to classify glyphosate as a carcinogen. (AP Photo/Luis Robayo, File)

FILE - In this June 4, 2008 file photo, a police plane sprays herbicides over coca fields in El Tarra, in the Catatumbo river area, near Colombia's northeastern border with Venezuela. Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos said Saturday, May 9, 2015 that he’s halting use of a herbicide that’s a key part of U.S.-financed efforts to wipe out cocaine crops, saying he’s taking the move following a Health Ministry recommendation based on a World Health Organization decision to classify glyphosate as a carcinogen. (AP Photo/Luis Robayo, File)  (The Associated Press)

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos says he's halting use of a herbicide that's a key part of U.S.-financed efforts to wipe out cocaine crops.

Santos said Saturday he's taking the move following a Health Ministry recommendation based on a World Health Organization decision to classify glyphosate as a carcinogen.

The U.S. ambassador to Colombia is Kevin Whitaker. He says a decision on whether to use the chemical is a decision for Colombia and the U.S. government respects it.

More than 4 million acres of land in Colombia have been sprayed with the popular weed killer over the past two decades to kill coca plants, whose leaves produce cocaine. The spraying program is partly carried out by U.S. contractors.