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.