Call for council to make Christchurch parks spray-free

March 13, 2016

Categories: Skepticism , Tags: Pseudoscience, Glyphosate

Christchurch council has voted 12-1 to look into ceasing use of glyphosate to kill weeds. The decision seems to have been made based on a recent International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) report which labels glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic". Many other products come under a similar classification, such as coffee, alcohol and bacon. The important question isn't "is it carcinogenic?", but "how carcinogenic is it?". (Paracelsus)

If the Council changes their method for controlling weeds in the city, to using fatty acid weedkillers and manual weed pulling, they have estimated that this will cost an extra $5 million per year.

The Greens' "pesticides spokesperson", Steffan Browning, is calling for councils to stop using glyphosate.

Dr Kerry Harrington, a senior lecturer in weed science at Massey University said that "probably carcinogenic to humans" did not mean it caused cancer, rather that in some circumstances it might cause cancer.

"This is the same level of warning (opens new window) as burning wood in the fireplace at home, upsetting circadian rhythms by doing shift work, or being a hairdresser. It is not a high level of risk. Should we ban all shift work or stop people burning wood in their fireplaces?"