Should Port Macquarie-Hastings Council reconsider its use of Roundup for roadside and bushland weed management?
Roundup is coming under increasing scrutiny from councils around Australia following at least three overseas court cases where damages have been awarded against the product owners Bayer AG.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has confirmed it continues to use Roundup and a range of other herbicides.
The key ingredient in Roundup is Glyphosate.
In the most recent damages claim, handed down in May this year, Bayer AG was ordered to pay just under $3 billion to a US couple. The couple claimed they got cancer after using the company's Roundup weedkiller for three decades.
Council director Melissa Watkins says council currently uses Roundup - and other herbicides - for some activities such as roadside and bushland weed management.
"This chemical use is conducted in compliance with the Pesticides Act 1999, and is undertaken by qualified staff following appropriate health, safety and best practice chemical handling procedures to ensure their own safety, and that of the community," Ms Watkins said.
"We encourage anyone with concerns or questions regarding council's chemical use to call council on 6581 8111 or visit council's website."
Residents with genuine chemical sensitivity - as diagnosed by a doctor - can apply for listing on a council register.
Council says a medical certificate must accompany the application.
Residents without medically diagnosed sensitivity to chemicals can notify council of their objections to spraying.
Council says, depending on the number of notification it receives, it may notify residents prior to commencing spraying operations.
As the national regulator for agricultural chemicals, we continue to track and consider any new scientific information associated with safety and effectiveness of glyphosate, including information from other regulators.Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority
In Australia, the government agency responsible for the management and regulation of all agricultural and veterinary chemical products is the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).
APVMA says it is continually monitoring new information.
"The APVMA continues to actively monitor any new scientific information about glyphosate," a spokesperson said.
"We remain satisfied that APVMA approved products containing glyphosate can continue to be used safely according to label directions.
"The APVMA's position is aligned with other international regulators and the joint FAO/WHO meeting on pesticide residues, including recent comprehensive reviews of glyphosate conducted by the USA and Canada. "
On its website, the APVMA says products containing glyphosate are registered for use in Australia.
"Australian law requires appropriate warnings on product labels, which include relevant poisons scheduling, first aid, and safety directions detailing personal protective equipment when handling and using products containing glyphosate.
"As the national regulator for agricultural chemicals, we continue to track and consider any new scientific information associated with safety and effectiveness of glyphosate, including information from other regulators."
In 2016, following an International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) assessment, the APVMA considered glyphosate and found no grounds to place it under formal reconsideration again.
The APVMA completed a review of glyphosate in 1997, which set Australia's health based guidance values at a level that remains protective.
Concerns have been raised about human exposure to the common herbicide glyphosate, after a 2015 IARC assessment, which has classified glyphosate in a group of chemicals that is 'probably carcinogenic to humans' based on a strength-of-evidence assessment.
Glyphosate is registered for use in Australia, and APVMA approved products containing glyphosate can continue to be used safely according to label directions.
More information can be found on the APVMA website.
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