A PETITION has been launched calling for Coventry council to stop spraying a potentially dangerous and ‘carcinogenic’ chemical to kill weeds in public places.
More than 1,200 people have signed an online petition on the website 38 Degrees urging the council to stop using herbicides and weedkillers containing the chemical glyphosate after a leading health organisation said it was ‘probably carcinogenic’.
After conducting studies, the World Health Organisation’s cancer arm – the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) – ruled “glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans” after the chemical had been linked to tumours in rats and mice.
Arguing that the use of glyphosates is already banned or restricted in countries and cities across Europe, the petition reads: “It is not acceptable that ourselves, our children and the animals we share our community with are being routinely exposed to these chemicals whether we like it or not.
“This is a matter of great importance for those of us who care about each other’s health and the health of our children, our cats, our dogs and all the flora and fauna of this city, of course including our beloved bees.”
Signing the petition, Gordon P wrote: “As a frequent users of Longford Park in Coventry, I and my two dogs are unhappy with this revelation that glyphosate weedkiller is being used when there is a possibility it may be carcinogenic,” while another signatory, Alison, added: “There are enough chemicals in the air around here without more.”
A spokesperson confirmed the council’s use of glyphosate as a herbicide on public highways and in parks and cemeteries across Coventry, and said they were ‘fully aware’ of the health concerns stemming from the IARC’s ‘probably carcinogenic’ classification.
But they argued a separate report by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (Bundesinstitut fur Risikobewertung) had concluded there was ‘no evidence of carcinogenicity, reproductive harmful or mutagenic effects’ of glyphosate in the animals it tested – casting questions over the real dangers of glyphosate.
The spokesperson added: “During April 2016 a resolution was passed recommending the EU Commission renews glyphosate’s marketing approval for another seven years although the resolution calls for several restrictions including that the herbicide should only be authorised for professional use, and not used in or close to public parks, public playgrounds and public gardens.
“Coventry City Council is obviously monitoring this situation closely, but to date we have not received any guidance from central Government nor the HSE to advise us to stop or restrict the use glyphosate in public places, and therefore we are continuing to operate as normal.
“If this situation changes and we are advised to withdraw or restrict the use of this product then this will be done immediately.”
The petition can be found online at www.38degrees.org.uk and searching ‘Ban dangerous Pesticides in Coventry’.