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Concerns Raised Over Weedkiller Chemical – Council Say It Has EU Approval

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Wednesday, Jul 12th, 2017.

A Wrexham Councillor has raised concerns over a chemical used to control weeks, with the Council pointing out the active ingredient glyphosate is approved for use in the EU.

Cartrefle councillor Ronnie Prince, pictured above, has said: “Wrexham Council sprays Roundup all over the Borough to control weeds and yet there is raging controversy as to the safety of Roundup and it’s active ingredient – Glyphosate. In 2015 the World Health Organisation said that Roundup contained an active ingredient that is ‘classed as probably carcinogenic to humans’.

“In the Lancet Oncology dated 2015, it stated that a key ingredient was carcinogenic for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma is now stated to be the fifth most common cancer in the UK.”

Cllr Prince also cited TV presenter Chris Packham’s campaign over the substance, which called for a ban – however the National Farmers Union strongly criticised the information put out citing nine reports concluding ‘it is safe to use‘.

Cllr Prince said: “Whilst the controversy rages on wouldn’t it be prudent of this Council to discontinue the use of Roundup until it is proved one way or another to be safe or otherwise, because in the future if it were proved to be carcinogenic or detrimental in other ways to human health, and we had our doubts now at this time, would the Council be held accountable?”

He added: “I will be asking the Council to review it’s policy of controlling weeds in the Borough and it’s use of Roundup at this time. I will also be asking for a Health and Safety investigation to take place on the methods used in the spraying of Roundup in my, and other wards in the Wrexham area at this present time.”

We asked Wrexham Council if they were comfortable with use of Roundup, and if with the concerns being raised is the use of it being paused.

Cllr David A Bithell, Lead Member for Environment and Transport, told us: “Glyphosate is an effective herbicide used to treat weed growth. It is used by Streetscene staff in Wrexham, as part of weed control in the County Borough.

“In terms of the safety of glyphosate. We are guided by HSE advice on the use of herbicides. I refer to the Health and Safety Executive website information on glyphosate, the active ingredient in Round Up.

“Glyphosate is currently approved for use as a herbicide (weed killer) in the EU. Approval was granted in 2002, based on a review of mammalian toxicology, ecotoxicology and other data. The current approval expires on 31 December 2017 at the latest.

“Neither the EU’s assessment of glyphosate as an active substance nor the UK’s assessments of applications for authorisation of products which contain it have found the substance unacceptable for use.

“WCBC ensures that operatives in Streetscene use the correct personal protection equipment and are properly trained and certificated in how to use the spray correctly. Any Streetscene staff using the herbicide will hold a PA1, PA2 or PA 6 certification, depending on the usage.”

Top picture: Councillor Ronnie Prince being shown use of Roundup by a Council tenant, in this case near an open rainwater drain.

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