Council kills off Roundup

Widespread use: The herbicide is used around the world by farmers, government bodies and home gardeners. Picture: Jasper Juinen / Bloomberg
Widespread use: The herbicide is used around the world by farmers, government bodies and home gardeners. Picture: Jasper Juinen / Bloomberg

Fairfield mayor Frank Carbone said it's better to be "safe than sorry" and a "cautious approach is always best" after it was revealed Fairfield Council is the first council in NSW to stop using weedkiller Roundup.

Council has phased out Roundup and replaced it with non-hazardous chemicals and organic weed killer across the city including in parks and roadsides.

Opponents of Roundup have seized on science linking its key ingredient, glyphosate with several diseases including non-Hodgkin lymphoma, pancreatic cancer and leukemia.

The manufacturer of Roundup, Bayer, denies the flagship product is carcinogenic and says its safety is supported by regulators around the world, including the US EPA.

Bayer, has lost three major US court battles against people suffering cancer in just 12 months.

A Bayer spokesperson told The Sydney Morning Herlad the jury verdicts conflicted with a recent interim decision of the US Environmental Protection Agency, which found glyphosate was not a carcinogen and there were no risks to public health where it was used in accordance with label instructions.

A spokesman for the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority said "we remain satisfied that APVMA-approved products containing glyphosate [the key ingredient in Roundup] can continue to be used safely according to label directions".

The authority said product label warnings included relevant poisons scheduling, first aid, and safety directions detailing personal protective equipment.

The authority said it considered glyphosate in 2016 "and found no grounds to place it under formal reconsideration."

Sutherland Shire Council commissioned an urgent review of its Roundup use after it was presented with a petition from resident Susanna Foran in April.

Ms Foran said she was concerned for the safety of council workers, whom she sees spraying Roundup without the protection of gloves or a mask.