A WEED killer used by Kingston Council has been linked to Parkinson’s disease, infertility and cancers.
Council workers spray Roundup Biactive to control weeds and there is mounting evidence that one of its ingredients, glyphosate, may be toxic to humans.
European Union countries are reviewing the use of the chemical in weed killers and may vote to ban its sale later this month.
Councillors backed a notice of motion by Cr David Eden at council’s latest public council meeting to review Kingston Council’s use of Roundup Biactive, especially around schools, playgrounds and kindergartens.
“As a council, we can either ignore the evidence that’s starting to come to light or we can look at alternative approaches,” Cr Eden said.
He likened the scientific research on glyphosate to previous health problems that emerged around asbestos in buildings.
“People dismissed it because authorities said it may not be a concern.”
The use of glyphosate around lakes and waterways is also a concern according to Cr Eden.
He also said a local kindergarten organiser told him the kinder is using chemical-free weed killers because some children “were starting to get a rash”.
“It’s commonly accepted that younger people are more susceptible to the impact of a wide range of chemicals.”
Bayside Council decided earlier this year to order its staff to use pine oil and steam to control weeds in areas where children play and limit the use of herbicides.
Castlemaine and Bendigo residents have petitioned their councils to cease using glyphosate-based pesticides.
Using steam-based alternatives for weed control can be more expensive.
In February WorkSafe Victoria issued guidelines for employers to minimise employees’ exposure to herbicides such as glyphosate.
“Spraying should also be avoided during very windy conditions to minimise the possibility of exposure to spray drift,” the guidelines stated.