Round up facts about chemicals

Consider the results as an important reminder to those who work with glyphosate

A RECENT announcement by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that glyphosate was "probably carcinogenic" was always going to cause concerns.

Glyphosate, or Roundup as it is most commonly known, is a vitally important chemical in Australia, and indeed the world.

Using research conducted on the chemical since 2001, the agency found there was limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans in terms of the development of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

But it said there was convincing evidence that glyphosate could cause cancer in laboratory animals.

Monsanto, the maker of Roundup, called the announcement an "outrage", with chief technology officer Robb Fraley saying it was inconsistent with decades of ongoing comprehensive safety reviews from leading regulatory authorities across the world.

While the news is concerning, it needs to be absorbed with a dose of common sense.

As Grain Producers Australia chairman Andrew Weidemann said, many common household products had carcinogenic properties, including sugar and liquorice.

Other substances, such as coffee and aloe vera, have also been found by the agency to be carcinogenic.

CropLife Australia chief executive Matthew Cossey said the announcement did not result from new research, and contradicted that of other world bodies including the Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues.

While the agency has no authority in Australia (the Australian Pesticides and Veterinarian Medicines Authority does) in terms of chemical registration and usage, perhaps it is best to consider the results as an important reminder to those who work with glyphosate.

Working with chemicals every day can often mean many producers become blasé about potentially deadly substances.

So ensure you undertake the recommended procedures for the application of glyphosate.

Taking the safe, appropriate steps will ensure it remains an available chemical for use, now and in the future.

FarmOnline
Miranda Kenny

Miranda Kenny

is the editor of Stock Journal
Date: Newest first | Oldest first

READER COMMENTS

Recalcitrant
9/04/2015 2:31:33 PM

That's right, everything is carcinogenic these days. Even smoking tobacco, believe it or not.
Makka
9/04/2015 3:28:16 PM

Recal- don't forget sunshine, beef, and beer!
Sunshine and lolly pops
11/04/2015 7:23:10 AM

Don't forget Miranda, that farmers have a much higher percentage of cancer cases then other demographics. My father, a farmer of 40 years had a scare of a highly aggressive prostate cancer. It's better to be cautious and query the chemical companies in this world than believe what they have to say. After all, they wouldn't just loose a multi-billion dollar industry, but also could be held liable for the deaths of thousands of people. And if you remember, the tabaco industry lied for decades to cover up what they new to be true.
A matter of opinionA selection of editorials from around the Fairfax Agricultural Media group covering the issues of the week.

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