There is concern amongst many Kent residents as Kent County Council continue to use Glyphosate Weed Killer, which could be carcinogenic.
Many councils have banned Glyphosate due to it’s links to cancer & harm to wildlife, but KCC still use the substance, with council workers spotted using it in Ramsgate yesterday.
The KCC website states “We spray weeds on roads and pavements twice a year between mid-May to the end of July and between September and October. The timing depends on weather conditions”.
The KCC web page on weeds, (which can be found here), adds “The chemical we use is Glyphosate. It is the most commonly used weed killer for public areas. It is approved for use by the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) and is marketed as safe to its users and the public, for use on the public highway”.
Interesting, the link added to the KCC website which says “Find out more about Glyphosate from the HSE website”, now goes to a 404 page unavailable error!
The World Health Organisation listed glyphosate as ‘probably carcinogenic’. Numerous other independent research studies have looked into the chemical’s negative impacts. These include damage to liver, kidney and skin cells, as well as disruption to soil and aquatic life.
DIY chain B&Q has stopped selling products containing glyphosate, including the widely used Roundup. Waitrose have also stopped selling glyphosate. A growing number of councils across the UK have also ditched glyphosate based weedkiller and gone pesticide free.
There are calls for the council to be clear on whether it is safe for children and pets to walk on grass verges following treatment with the herbicide
Campaigners have said that many councils continue spraying the likely carcinogenic herbicide across neighbourhoods, public parks, and play areas, on roadside verges and around all trees. They say it is in clear contravention of European Commission guidance produced in 2017 which states that glyphosate use should be minimised in public parks, playgrounds and gardens.
Other councils still using glyphosate in the UK state that the products they use “are fully approved as safe for use for weed control and all of our operatives undertake regular and comprehensive training, to ensure that it is applied safely and legally”.
Recently there have been a number of court cases in the US, where a company called Monsanto have been found guilty of suppressing information on the toxicity of its glyphosate products. The link with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is now undisputed.
In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) ruled that glyphosate – the active chemical within Roundup and many other popular weedkillers – was “probably carcinogenic”. However, numerous other international agencies, including the European Chemical Agency and European Food Safety Authority (Efsa), continue to declare glyphosate as safe, and there are many scientific studies which have found no association with cancer.
Following many tests, glyphosate is found as a residue on many of the food products we eat. It has also been found in water, wine and beer. Testing has revealed that glyphosate is present in people’s urine in Europe, and in urine and breast milk in the USA, although it is unproven if there is any detrimental affect on the human body.