Glyphosate up­date, WW2 re­mem­brance gar­den project

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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

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