Herbicide hoo-ha

AUTHORITIES have been urged to stop using herbicides with the chemical glyphosate to kill roadside weeds.

Brown roadsides have been appearing on many South Gippsland roads as VicRoads sprays grass to reduce fire risk and maintenance during the spring growing season.

Many studies have linked glyphosate forumlations to hormone disruption, non-hodgkin lymphoma, chromosomal damage and foetal abnormalities, said Richard Nankin, an organic farmer from Allambee South.

He said while all the data refers to glyphosate, added ingredients can make herbicides far more toxic.

“There has been a total failure of the regulators to assess the safety of the formula now on the shelves. We have to stop using it,” he said.

In 2016, Jessica Harrison of Wonthaggi successfully petitioned Bass Coast Shire Council to introduce a pilot program using alternatives to Roundup near playgrounds, parks and schools in the shire.

“Soon the use of glyphosate formulations in home gardens, agriculture and public spaces will be a thing of the past,” she said.

“Like asbestos, DDT and tobacco, the herbicide owners and retailers will fight like hell to defend their safety, but there is no going back.

“A body of evidence now shows the harm caused by the use of glyphosate formulations. Councils should heed warnings from insurers and look at their duty of care for the community and council workers dealing with this herbicide on a daily basis.”

VicRoads has reassured the public they are not of risk of harm from chemicals used to spray roadside grass.

A VicRoads spokesperson told The Star the authority uses the herbicide Weed Master Duo on roadsides.

“As long as it used correctly, is not harmful to humans and animals,” the spokesperson said.

South Gippsland Shire Council uses Raze Herbicide, a group ‘M’ herbicide for roadside spraying.

“This product is not classified as hazardous according to the criteria of Safe Work Australia,” a council spokesperson said.

Both herbicides contain glyphosate. While the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said glyphosate was ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority has concluded the use of glyphosate in Australia does not pose a cancer risk to humans.

Michael Flegg, VicRoads’ Eastern Region Alliance program manager, said regular management of weeds and vegetation helps to reduce fire risk and maintain safe sight distances for drivers.

Spraying also reduces the amount of mowing VicRoads needs to undertake on roadsides.

Among the roads being mown in South Gippsland now are: Inverloch-Venus Bay Road, Meeniyan-Promontory Road, Mirboo North-Trafalgar Road and Strzelecki Highway.

Bass Coast Shire Council was asked for comment.


Taking stand: Jessica Harrison of Wonthaggi continues to advocate for herbicides containing glyphosate to not be used.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=23187

Posted by on Nov 14 2017. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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