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Evidence for continued glyphosate use

26 September 2017

The Department of the Environment has set out the research which shows glyphosate is a safe and effective weed killer if used in accordance with the product guidelines.

The department has issued a statement about the strong international evidence for the continued use of glyphosate following public concerns expressed about the chemical in plant products used locally.

Current concern is linked to a paper published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organisation.

Newer research

But newer research, supported by an overwhelming number of regulatory authorities and other experts around the world, including the United States, Canada, and Europe, concludes that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a human cancer risk and the original study was flawed.

The Environment Department’s Plant Health laboratory follows EU and UK best practice, and scientists at the lab regularly review the latest evidence to ensure pesticide products authorised for use in Jersey don’t pose an unacceptable risk.

Plant Health officers – who are highly qualified scientists – have reviewed the international evidence again recently, in the light of public concern and found that it weighed strongly against glyphosate being linked to cancer in humans.

Consequently, officers recommend its continued use in Jersey. The Minister for the Environment, Deputy Steve Luce, has accepted the recommendation.

However, the Minister pointed to recent guidelines issued by the Department of the Environment and reminded Islanders that all chemicals must be used legally, responsibly and according to the instructions on the label.

Department of the Environment statement on glyphosate

Pesticide guidance issued by the Department of the Environment

All chemicals, whether professionally or domestically applied, must be the right product for the problem they are targeting. Users must follow the instructions on the product label which give information about the following:

  • dilution factor (the dosing rate)
  • application rate
  • weather conditions (including wind and forecast rainfall) during and after application
  • safety precautions (for you, other people and animals)
  • crop or situation

People using pesticides should wear the right protective clothing and all spraying should be done in suitable conditions so that the wind doesn’t cause it to drift on to non-target areas.

People should make every effort to avoid applying pesticides near water courses, wells and boreholes or surface water drains, but if absolutely necessary they must choose the right product and it must be carefully applied to avoid any product or spray drift reaching the water.

Wash water from sprayers/applicators must be disposed of properly, for example, sprayed on to the areas of treated vegetation. On no account should sprayers or containers be washed in streams. Empty domestic pesticide containers can be carefully disposed of in a normal domestic bin (without being rinsed), as long as they are empty.

People using contractors to apply herbicides are reminded that they too must follow Jersey’s pesticide and water pollution laws, and ensure that any staff or contractors hold certificates of competence, even if using an ‘amateur’ product.

Householders who pay gardeners to apply such products should also make sure that the person doing the work holds a certificate of competence.

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