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Cancer-linked weedkiller use still uncertain

The use in Bermuda of glyphosate herbicides, which some studies have linked to cancer, is still being reviewed.

Technical officers met with representatives of Monsanto, which markets the weedkiller under the brand name Roundup, this month to discuss the local ban on products containing the chemical.

“At the request of the Minister of Health, Seniors and Environment, technical officers met with visiting representatives of Monsanto, the makers of the herbicide Roundup, on February 3 to discuss the ban on the importation of glyphosate herbicides,” a ministry spokesman told The Royal Gazette. He added that the Department of Environmental Protection was “in the process of undertaking a monitoring study for the presence of glyphosates, its degradation products and surfactants, in our local environment”.

This is expected to be completed by July, at which time the ministry will review the findings with relevant government bodies.

Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide used by a number of companies to manufacture herbicides designed to manage broadleaved weeds and grasses.

It can be found locally in products such as Rodeo, manufactured by Dow Chemicals, Ortho Ground Clear, Ace Weed and Grass Killer, and Touchdown Pro, to name a few.

A six-month ban was placed on glyphosate in May last year after a World Health Organisation study of the chemical determined that it was “probably carcinogenic to humans”.

“This information, in conjunction with the above mentioned studies and a review of the stakeholder concerns will be used to determine the Government's position on the future of glyphosate in Bermuda,” the spokesman said.

“Considering there is still a pressing need for the effective control of weeds, in the interim the Ministry of Health Seniors and Environment will permit the importation of Ready To Use glyphosate products until the final recommendation can be made,” he added.

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Published February 22, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated February 22, 2016 at 6:54 am)

Cancer-linked weedkiller use still uncertain

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