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Using poisonous weedkillers in parks, playgrounds and streets has to stop

The Green Party is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and local councils to urgently reassess the safety of glyphosate, the carcinogenic active ingredient in weedkillers like Roundup, as it launches a nationwide ‘spray-free streets and parks’ campaign today at Onepoto Domain in Auckland.

“Our survey of councils shows thousands of litres of glyphosate are used on berms, playgrounds and parks every year, putting people at risk from a probable carcinogen,” said Green Party pesticides spokesperson Steffan Browning.

“Mums and dads are having to monitor spraying in their local parks to keep their kids safe from poisonous weedkillers. Councils and government should stop putting kids at risk and eliminate the use of glyphosate in streets, playgrounds and other public spaces.

“Glyphosate is a compound common in many brands of weedkiller, most famously in Roundup. It’s used all over the country by councils in their efforts to control weeds in parks and around our streets.

“Earlier this year, the World Health Organisation classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic” to humans, yet it’s still legal to use it in public spaces like parks.

“Many cities, towns and regions overseas, including Paris, Chicago, Rotterdam and Barcelona have faced up to the alarming evidence and moved to make public spaces glyphosate-free.

“Local councils can make our parks and neighbourhoods safe places for children by using non-toxic, proven alternatives for controlling weeds, such as hot water treatment, weed trimmers and mulching.

“Councils and the EPA need to assess the risk of glyphosate for themselves objectively and urgently, in the interests of New Zealanders’ health and the health of our environment,” said Mr Browning

Facts about glyphosate [1]:

1.     Studies have shown that glyphosate causes damage to cells and genes that can lead to cancer.

2.     We don’t know what a safe level of glyphosate is, as it has never been assessed by regulators at sub-lethal levels.

3.     Recent research showed that exposure to common herbicides such as glyphosate causes bacteria to become antibiotic resistant.

4.     If it enters waterways, glyphosate harms fish and other aquatic animals.

5.     Glyphosate negatively affects the natural behaviour of bees, causing them to forget where their hives are.

6.     Glyphosate is often combined in weedkillers with other active ingredients that harm animals and people.

7.     Glyphosate leaches into groundwater.

 

[1] A summary of the evidence base and further information can be found at http://action.greens.org.nz/glyphosate

Link to the Green Party spray-free streets and parks petition http://action.greens.org.nz/sprayfree