Council use weedkiller linked to cancer

By Mary Dennehy

South Dublin County Council has been criticised for “flying in the face of research” due to its continued use of a chemical weedkiller, which is reportedlyKerbside pics 007 linked to cancer, kidney failure, birth defects and a host of other medical conditions.
For more than 20 years, the council has been using a weedkiller called Roundup, which contains an active, chemical substance called glyphosate – a product which, made by American biotechnology corporation Monsanto, has come under scrutiny in countries such as France, the Netherlands and Brazil.

At this week’s council meeting Independent councillor Dermot Looney and Renua councillor Ronan McMahon asked the Chief Executive to report on the potential dangers of the chemical, which, approved for use by the Department of Agriculture, is used across South Dublin County to kill weeds growing along grass verges, around lamp posts and other hard-to-reach places for the council’s lawnmowers. 
Renua councillor Ronan McMahon told The Echo: “I’m not happy with the council’s response in council chambers, they are hiding behind legislation and the bottom line is that our children should not be exposed to this chemical, which is being sprayed on streets and outside schools. 
“Glyphosate is linked to Parkinson’s, birth defects, cancer, kidney failure, Alzheimer’s and other conditions, and it needs to be banned. 
“The council is flying in the face of research, they need to stop using this product and take heed of the research and evidence.” 
Earlier this year, a WHO [World Health Organisation] study, which was informed from studies of exposure, mostly agriculture, in the US, Canada and Sweden, said that Roundup “probably” causes cancer, a claim which Monsanto said scientific data did not support. 
Claims have also been made concerning the impact glyphosate has on wildlife, most notably bees and butterflies. 
Replying to The Echo, Brian Sheehan, the council’s senior parks superintendent, said: “This is a low toxicity product to kill plants and shrubs and it is not dangerous to people or animals. 
“It is a listed product and is approved for use by the Department of Agriculture, with many over-the-counter products available in garden centres also glyphosate-based. 
“It is not the council’s call to decide whether a product is safe or not, we are guided by the Department.” 
He added: “All of our staff using the product are also trained by independent, external trainers and are certified to work with chemicals . . . and are fully aware of PPE [Personal Protective Equipment].
“We also don’t spray when it’s raining or in high winds.”
In recent months, a number of residents have criticised the scorched appearance of their grass areas and questioned if spraying is the best option. 
“Spraying is the most efficient and effective tool we have,” Mr Sheehan said. 
“We only spray areas that the mowers can’t readily reach and it’s in the interest of the public presentation of our streets and county. 
“It costs .02 cent per square metre to spray which is much cheaper and more effective than sending a staff member out every two weeks with a strimmer.” 
Mr Sheehan also stressed the need for people using weed killer in their homes to always store the product safely, wear protective clothing and wash their hands thoroughly after using. 
A scheduled re-view of the use of glyphosate is currently underway by EU Member States and the European Food Safety Authority. 
Glyphosate was reviewed in 2002, as part of the EU plant protection product review programme, which has allowed its use to date. 
Replying to a parliamentary question in April of this year, the Minister for Agriculture, the Marine and Food, Michael Coveney TD said: “All uses of glyphosate approved in Ireland are in line with approved uses in all other EU Member States. 
“Uses are only granted if the appropriate risk assessment indicates that safe uses are possible under normal conditions.”

Prev Council request info on plans for 400 houses on Citywest site
Next Opposition to nursing home plans
  • Walking miracle Karlee (8) thanks people for saving her life
  • Return of the flying ants!
  • Irish football supporters came out in force to remember Jack Charlton
  • Crowds gather to pay respect to former chairperson Brendan Moran
  • HSE launch Covid-19 Tracker App

We use cookies to improve your experience on our site, personalise content, provide social media features, analyse our traffic, show you relevant advertising and to target and report on ads. By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies that may process personal data for these purposes.