Concerns raised for Sheffield staff spraying ‘dangerous’ weed killer

Extinction Rebellion has raised concerns about council staff spraying ‘dangerous’ weed killer without protection.

By Molly Williams
Thursday, 10th October 2019, 11:44 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 12:37 pm
RoudUp contains glyphosate, which Extinction Rebellion want to ban. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
RoudUp contains glyphosate, which Extinction Rebellion want to ban. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

Graham Wroe raised the issue at a full council meeting after he saw a Sheffield Council employee using glyphosate based weed killer, RoundUp, without gloves or a mask.

He said: “I was astonished to find he wasn’t wearing protective gear.

“A court case was won against Monsanto by a man in the United States who developed cancer after using RoundUp. He was awarded $289 million in damages.”

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He said when speaking to the worker they said his bosses advised him not to wear the protective gear as it would scare the general public.

He added it was responsible for the deaths of many bees, predatory mites, lacewings, ladybirds and predatory beetles and that it was toxic to earthworms among other harmful affects to nature.

Mr Wroe has also launched a petition to ban the use of the chemical, which has so far gained 3,552 signatures.

He said it has already been banned in Denmark, Holland, Sweden, France and in some councils around the UK such as Trafford, Brighton and Bristol.

Coun Mark Jones, cabinet member for climate change, environment and streetscene, said: “I have done some research myself and taken some advice from officers on this. It is a complex subject and I don’t think I can give you sufficient information in my answer today so we should have a further and fuller discussion on this.

“We have trialled not using herbicides of this type in the parks but unfortunately this has proven not successful in controlling weed species. This doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be continued and we shouldn’t explore it because what we define as being an undesirable and desirable plant is something we need to look at.

“Workers should always be adhering to COSHH regulations, if they are not please capture that and inform us of it because it is of paramount importance of this council that we protect our workers in all cases.”