Potentially cancerous common herbicide still in use locally

THE Clarence Valley Council has confirmed it is still using glyphosate-based pesticides to control grass on roads and reserves despite the widespread chemical being labelled as 'probably carcinogenic' by the World Health Organisation last year.

Orginally trade marked by agrochemical company Monsanto as 'Roundup', the broad-spectrum herbicide has been used in agriculture and home applications worldwide for more than 40 years.

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Clarence Valley Council works and civil director Troy Anderson said in the Clarence Valley the chemical was used to control grass and noxious weeds on council roads and reserves.

"We do that as per the label recommendations as directed by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority," he said.

"We haven't received anything from the APVMA suggesting we stop using it."

The APVMA is currently conducting a review with the Department of Health to determine whether there is a need to update previous assessments on glyphosate.

It is based on the findings of the World Health Organisation's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) last March, which resulted in the chemical being upgraded from being 'possibly' carcinogenic to 'probably' cancer-causing.

The IARC said it was due to sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals, and limited evidence of links to non-Hodgkin lymphoma and prostate cancer in humans. According to thee report, the general population is exposed primarily through living near sprayed areas, home use, and diet.

The findings of the APVMA review are expected to be finalised in coming months, but the current advice is that "the label instructions on all glyphosate products - when followed - provides adequate protection for users."

Mr Anderson said information about the recommended use of herbicides was available at www.clarence.nsw.gov.au.

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