Weedkiller used in safe manner

As the commonly-used herbicide, glyphosate – also known as Roundup – is investigated for its probability to cause cancer, Australia’s regulatory body says current labels are appropriate.

The World Health Organisation is re-evaluating the herbicide, having announced glyphosate probably causes cancer last year.

Its expert committee, including representatives from the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, is set to decide its carcinogenicity in May.

But APVMA is reminding the public current labels for glyphosate products “contain appropriate instructions for use to keep those handling glyphosate safe”.

Latrobe City Council general manager of recreation and community infrastructure Steve Piasente said council used glyphosate as a low-cost tool to manage weeds and invasive grasses.

“This herbicide is used across the municipality in council’s parks, gardens, playgrounds and roadside maintenance operations,” Mr Piasente said.

“Latrobe City uses glyphosate in strict accordance with the manufacturers’ guidelines and in a safe manner.

“Council staff members only apply it during times of low winds and take safety precautions during mixing and use.”

APVMA’s advice to Australian employers remains that all instructions must be followed while any additional advice from other jurisdictions would not replace the product’s safety label.

Mr Piasente pointed to cancer assessments about products such as red meat and said at this point in time there was no need for concern.

“At this point we see no need for community concern as glyphosates are identified as being safe to use,” Mr Piasente said.

“They are extensively used in the community by the agricultural sector and residentially.”