Majority want ban on use of controversial weedkiller

Majority want ban on use of controversial weedkiller
Dewayne Johnson was awarded tens of millions in damages after a ruling that Roundup, the brand name under which glyphosate is commonly sold, caused his cancer. Picture: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty

Most Irish adults who are familiar with glyphosate are worried about the health effects of the widely used weedkiller and want it banned from use on crops.

An opinion poll found that 64% of adults who know about the controversial chemical are concerned that it may be present in their body through the consumption of food and drink, and 68% favour outlawing its spraying on food crops here.

However, the survey found that almost two out of three adults, 63%, have never heard of glyphosate despite its links to cancer and the row among EU states over whether to keep renewing its licence for use.

However, the majority, 66%, have heard of Roundup, the brand name under which the weedkiller is most commonly sold for use in gardens, parks, other public areas and in agriculture.

The poll of 1,000 adults was carried out by Behaviour and Attitudes for campaign group, Uplift, last month. The findings emerged as preparations continued for the first federal court case against Monsanto, the company that developed glyphosate, which is scheduled to begin in the United States on Monday.

Last November a state court in California ordered the company to pay a terminally-ill school maintenance man, Dewayne Johnson, €254m after ruling that Roundup caused his cancer.

The amount was later reduced to €68m and Monsanto is appealing the case but the company faces potentially thousands more claims.

Glyphosate has been under scrutiny for years for suspected links to cancer, in particular non-Hodgkin lymphoma. International health and safety organisations are divided in their opinions with different studies producing conflicting outcomes.

The European Commission in 2017 granted an extension to glyphosate’s licence for use in member states up to 2022 after more than two years of arguments.

Ireland backed the extension after farmers warned that agriculture would suffer without glyphosate. Irish farmers use the chemical not only as a weedkiller but on maturing grain crops to stop growth and dry them out for more efficient harvesting.

The Department of Agriculture has stated there is no scientific basis for a ban but Siobhan O’Donoghue, director of Uplift, said the poll demonstrates a public demand for it: “Spraying of crops with glyphosate has been banned in many other countries and for the sake of our health needs to be also banned in Ireland.”

More on this topic

Trading Up: Three bedroom in Ballinlough, Cork €310,000Trading Up: Three bedroom in Ballinlough, Cork €310,000

Upgraded home perfect for those wishing to downsizeUpgraded home perfect for those wishing to downsize

Quality period home with room available for developments at €575,000Quality period home with room available for developments at €575,000

Antiques & Fine Art: Your guide to what's onAntiques & Fine Art: Your guide to what's on

More in this Section

French Minister urges Britain to sign up to Withdrawal Agreement during border tripFrench Minister urges Britain to sign up to Withdrawal Agreement during border trip

Judge says individual assessments can be made around Personal Insolvency ArrangementsJudge says individual assessments can be made around Personal Insolvency Arrangements

Minister: Lessons must be learned from search and rescue deaths as new oversight plan is publishedMinister: Lessons must be learned from search and rescue deaths as new oversight plan is published

Fears major sewerage and flood projects are driving businesses out of West Cork townFears major sewerage and flood projects are driving businesses out of West Cork town


Lifestyle

Garbage offered a pop twist on grunge’s maximalist angst when they materialised in a dramatic swirl in the mid-Nineties. Like a candy-cane Nirvana, they were bleak and baroque but with tunes you could hum in the dark.Garbage's return to Dublin well worth the wait

Circle back to fashion's hottest retro print, says Annmarie O'Connor.Trend of the Week: Circling back to fashion's hottest retro print

Ever wondered what it would be like to move lock, stock and barrel into a tiny home, like the ones on Netflix’s Tiny House Nation?Are you ready to join the tiny-house movement?

Kya deLongchamps reports back on the performance of her photovoltaic array and wonders if it could handle the addition of an electric carDIY: Get ready for a natural high

More From The Irish Examiner