Glyphosate update, WW2 remembrance garden project
IT is up to gardeners to decide whether weedkillers containing glyphosate continue to be available to buy, according to a horticulture industry leader.
The statement, by Westland marketing director Keith Nicholson, comes at a time when several leading garden brands are starting to offer glyphosate-free alternatives.
This follows an American court case in August 2018 where a groundsman was awarded a multi-million dollar payout from Monsanto, the manufacturers of Roundup, after he claimed it was responsible for his terminal cancer.
Mr Nicholson said: “We have got to give gardeners the choice of glyphosate-based and glyphosatefree products.”
He added that although nonglyphosate weedkillers are growing
“Glyphosate still makes up 98% of weedkiller sales”
in popularity, the chemical is still popular with a large section of gardening consumers.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient found in the UK’s most popular weedkillers. Although 98 per cent of weedkiller sales contain the chemical, many major brands, including Neudorff, Evergreen (formerly Scotts), Assured Products and SBM, are now producing alternative ranges.
Westland launched a glyphosate-free version of Resolva weedkiller in 2017. Waitrose stopped selling Roundup in 2016, but does stock other glyphosatebased chemicals.
The chemical is also being reviewed by Wilkinson’s, Homebase and B&Q, among others.
The weedkiller market is led by Evergreen’s Roundup, but the company’s marketing director Ann-Marie Riordan says the brand’s Roundup Speed Ultra could boost the non-glyphosate market substantially as gardeners look around “for an alternative”.
Despite the massive payout to groundsman Dewayne Johnson in August, Monsanto and its parent company Bayer strenuously deny any link between glyphosate and cancer.
However, 1.3 million people in the EU have signed a petition calling for a ban on glyphosate products and the European Parliament wants it banned by 2022. The World Health Organisation has also weighed into the discussion, describing the chemical as ‘a probable carcinogen’.
In the UK, the National Farmers’ Union is lobbying for glyphosate to remain, saying that removing glyphosate would wipe almost £1 billion a year off the British economy.
Adding weight to the NFU’s argument is the fact that there have been no strong scientific links directly forged between glyphosate and cancer in humans, though two generations of genetic abnormalities were reported after pregnant rats were exposed to the same levels of glyphosate used on soybeans consumed by people.
But Sir Colin Berry, emeritus professor of pathology at Queen Mary University of London, says that the levels of exposure that most domestic gardeners are exposed to is “almost certainly” too small to damage their health.
Roundup is a popular weedkiller, but has caused health fears
Glyphosate-free weedkillers are becoming more popular
Dewayne Johnson blames glyphosate for causing his cancer