Title: Rounding up the risk of glyphosate

[EchoNews 16 July 2015 by Sarah Brookes] AUSTRALIA -- Kalamunda Shire is reviewing its use of glyphosate in the wake of the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) labelling the pesticide as “probably carcinogenic to humans.Shire chief executive officer Rhonda Hardy said the shire used 1400 litres of the chemical, commonly marketed as Roundup, each year on shire-owned buildings, gardens, road reserves and fire breaks. “In light of the recent developments the shire is pursuing further information from state and federal governments regarding the potential future use of this substance and any associated risks,” she said. The City of Swan and Shire of Mundaring said it was guided by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) that states the label instructions on all glyphosate products, when followed, provided adequate protection for users. Shire of Mundaring acting CEO Paul O’Connor said the shire regularly reviewed the use of all chemicals used within the shire, including glyphosate. “The shire is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our community, employees and contractors,” he said. “Should the advice regarding the use of glyphosate change, the shire will liaise with the Department of Health in regards to the appropriate action.City of Swan CEO Mike Foley said the city used 10,000 litres of glyphosate per annum. “The city reviews all chemicals to ensure that the best and most appropriate product is being used in targeting weed species,” he said. Mr Foley said other methods of weed control were less effective. “Generally the city uses mulch in all landscapes, however mulched areas still need to be sprayed,” he said. “The city did trial natural weed control methods, such as steam, however this was not effective practically or financially sustainable.

Monash University senior adjunct research fellow Dr David Low said the release of known carcinogens into the environment to manage weeds was not justifiable, especially when there were other effective alternative methods available.
“Whether non-chemical methods are ‘cost effective’ depends on what we include in the evaluation, and what we leave out,” he said. “For example, the cost of the hospital treatment for those who contract cancer because of herbicide use, or the cost of replacing ‘off-target’ vegetation, insects and animals damaged or killed by herbicides is usually not considered. “In countries where these are included in the assessment, non-chemical methods are considered superior from an economic standpoint.” | Continue reading …| Comment |

APVMA chief executive officer Kareena Arthy said the authority took the findings by the IARC seriously. “In collaboration with the Office of Chemical Safety in the Department of Health, we will examine the basis for the IARC classification when the full monograph is published before determining whether any regulatory action is necessary, including whether glyphosate should be formally reviewed,” she said ... Ms Arthy said the APVMA finalised its own formal review of glyphosate in 1996. “It found that while glyphosate was a low-risk active constituent, the aquatic toxicity of some glyphosate formulations was undesirably high,” she said. “At that time, action was taken to amend glyphosate products labels around how they can be used.

Alliance for a Clean Environment (ACE) chair Jane Bremmer said she was disappointed a recent report by Auditor General Colin Murphy into the management of pesticides in Western Australia did not go further. “We are deeply disappointed that the auditor general did not investigate adequately the increasing public exposures and adverse experiences being caused through the application of pesticides in the urban environment,” she said. “Local governments spray our urban environment with vast amounts of poisons on a regular basis, including glyphosate. “Chemical mixtures and their effects on human health is the dinosaur in the room. “Yet our pesticide regulators hide behind this unscientific approach to the assessment of chemicals used in Australia. “For the APVMA to state that glyphosate has been through a robust chemical assessment process, nearly 20 years ago, is a complete nonsense.

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Article: WeedsNews5485 (permalink)
Categories: :WeedsNews:health, :WeedsNews:policy, :WeedsNews:reserves, :WeedsNews:councils
Date: July 29, 2015; 7:51:50 PM EST
Author Name: David Low
Author ID: admin