Australia urged to restrict Monsanto's Roundup after US court rules it caused cancer
Monsanto Australia urged to restrict Monsanto's Roundup after US court rules it caused cancer
Greenpeace says government should be âexercising the precautionary principleâ until more studies conducted
Greenpeace has called on the Australian government to suspend the sale of the weedkiller Roundup after a US court ruled it had caused the terminal cancer of an Amer ican man.
On Friday, the San Francisco superior court of California ruled that Roundup caused school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma â" a fatal blood cell cancer.
The jury also found that manufacturer Monsanto âknew for decadesâ the product was potentially dangerous, and acted âwith malice or oppressionâ by failing to warn Johnson of the risks.
The weedkiller is widely available in Australian supermarkets and hardware stores, and Greenpeace said the government must now take âurgent actionâ to restrict it.
The active chemical in Roundup â" glyphosate â" was classified as âprobably carcinogenicâ in 2015 by the World Health Organisation.One man's suffering has exposed Monsanto's secrets to the world | Carey Gillam Read more
It is still approved for use in Australia, and is the most commonly used herbicide in the world.
Monsantoâs vice president, Scott Partridge, has in sisted that Roundup is safe, saying on Friday that the âverdict doesnât change the four-plus decades of safe use and science behind the productâ.
A spokeswoman for Monsanto in Australia told Guardian Australia: âThe US Environmental Protection Agency and regulatory authorities around the world, including Australia, support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer.â
But Greenpeace said the federal government should suspend the use of glyphosate until more studies were conducted.
âWe need to be urgently exercising the precautionary principle,â said Jamie Hanson, Greenpeaceâs head of campaigns. âUse of this dangerous product should be severely restricted.
âRoundup is widely available for sale in Australia ... potentially exposing millions of people to its harmful effects. This case is only the first of hundreds that have been filed in the US claiming Roundup causes non-Hodgkin lymphoma. We have no idea how far this will spread and h ow many more are to come.â
The UK hardware chain Homebase announced it would review its sale of Roundup in the wake of the court decision.
But Bunnings Warehouse in Australia said it had not removed Roundup because it was still classified safe by the government regulator.Homebase to review sale of Monsanto weedkiller after US cancer verdict Read more
âWe follow advice from Australiaâs chemical regulator, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, for this product,â Clive Duncan, Bunningsâs director of marketing and merchandise, said.
âWe take customer and team member welfare extremely seriously and strongly recommend users read and follow the directions and recommendations listed on the labels and packaging.â
The chief executive of Cancer Council Australia, Professor Sanchia Aranda, said Roundup posed no threat to âmum-and-dad gardenersâ as long as they took precautions.
âThis risk is on ly classified for people who use it in the workplace on a regular basis,â she said. âThere is no evidence there is a danger to mum-and-dad gardeners, or kids who play in parks where Roundup is being sprayed.
â[Wear] protective clothing to stop it getting on your skin â" it doesnât need to be industrial protection â" just make sure your arms and legs are covered. Wear a mask so you donât inhale it.â
But she said this advice would change if Monsanto was hiding more information about Roundup.
âThe most concerning thing is the suggestion that they are holding any information back. We want to emphasise that if there is other information that Monsanto have, that they must be transparent. We have zero tolerance for companies who protect their shareholders over the public.â
The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority confirmed the court decision would not change Roundupâs status in Australia.
âThe APVMA is aware of th e decision in the Californian superior court,â a spokesman said. âGlyphosate is registered for use in Australia and APVMA approved products containing glyphosate can continue to be used safely according to label directions.â
Monsanto said it intenedd to appeal against the decision in the US.
Shares in an Australian maker of a similar product, Nufarm Ltd, fell 17% after the weekendâs decision, hitting a two-year low.Topics
- Health (Australia news)
- Health (Society)
- Business (Australia)
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