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Advice published on correct use of weekillers containing glyphosate

06 August 2019

Growing concern has been highlighted by the Shropshire Star over the number of court cases emerging brought by ground maintenance workers after using weedkiller containing glyphosate.

It cites a recent court case in Los Angeles, America, brought by a former school groundsman suffering from terminal cancer.

He had used the Roundup weedkiller and became soaked in it when his sprayer broke, leading to the court awarding him more than £64m in damages against Monsanto, the manufacturer of the herbicide.

According to the Shropshire Star, it is the third court case this year awarding damages against the company, which is now facing 18,400 further cases relating to the product, leading to calls for more information on the effects of using products containing glyphosate.

The newspaper refers to the 2015 statement by the Research on Cancer division of the World Health Organisation (WHO), identifying glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic".

"There is some evidence that people who are exposed to very high levels of glyphosate, for example through their job, may have a small increased risk of certain types of cancer," said Cancer Research UK health information officer Weilin Wu, according to the Shropshire Star.

The newspaper also quoted National Farmer's Union West Midlands spokesperson Oliver Cartwright, who said that "independent regulatory bodies around the world have reviewed all the evidence surrounding glyphosate... and concluded it poses no risk when used correctly".

He further advised that the chemical reduces the need for other herbicides, helps to protect soil and cuts greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the need for ploughing.

Local authorities have no plans to stop using weedkiller containing glyphosate, said Sandwell Council's Maria Compton, while confirming that strict safety procedures are followed in line with manufacturer recommendations and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) assessments.

Further comment was included in the article from council representatives, stating that the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) should always be used when handling glyphosate herbicides, while referring to Defra or the Health and Safety Executive for further advice.

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