Kersten UK's Sean Faulkner said: "A lot has happened over the last few months with regards to the use of weed killers containing glyphosate, so we thought it would be a good idea to share the information."
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has reviewed the science on pesticides and herbicides. While conducting their latest review, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which independently gathers health data for the World Health Organization, declared in their paper’s the conclusion "Glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A)". It also stated: "There is sufficient evidence in experimental animals for the carcinogenicity of glyphosate."
Kersten said: "This evidence has made it difficult for the European Commission to come to a decision whether to extend the licence of glyphosate. If the licence was not extended, the chemical would have to be phased out over six months.
"Eventually, after months of indecision and despite failing three times in a row to secure a majority decision from the European Union's member states, the licence was extended on June 28, but only for 18 months.
This is significant as it would normally be extended for 15 years."
The EU has also given a series of recommendations in parallel with the extension, which include;
1) ban a co-formulant called POE-tallowamine from glyphosate based products;
2) minimise the use of the substance in public parks, public playgrounds and gardens
3) minimise the pre-harvest use of glyphosate.
The reaction so far:
Kersten said: "To date it is unclear if the UK government is prepared to accept these recommendations, but some councils in the UK are already looking to stop using glyphosate in weed control and are investigating other chemical free methods, such councils include; Brighton, Bristol, Glastonbury, Erewash, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.
"This action has mainly been taken "after being contacted by concerned constituents following the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) March 2015 report finding that glyphosate was "probably carcinogenic"."
"Several European countries, including Holland, Denmark and Sweden, have banned or restricted the use of glyphosate herbicides by local authorities, because of alleged links with a variety of health problems – not just cancer – ranging from birth defects and kidney failure to celiac disease, colitis and autism.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in many weedkillers, but the extent of the impact is not onlydown to this one chemical. Dr Robin Mesnage of Kings College London, wrote "We know Roundup, the commercial name of glyphosate-based herbicides, contains many other chemicals, which when mixed together are 1,000 times more toxic than glyphosate on its own."
On the August 1 a new EU regulation (EU) 2016/1313 came into force, which specifically highlighted POE-tallowamine as one of these toxic chemicals and banned its use as a co-formulant in the same product as glyphosate; "Member States shall ensure that plant protection productscontaining glyphosate do not contain the co-formulant POE-tallowamine (CAS No 61791-26- 2)’."
The new regulation also states that "Member States should ensure that the use of plant protectionproducts containing glyphosate is minimised or prohibited in areas such as public parks and gardens, sports and recreation grounds, school grounds and children's playgrounds and in the close vicinity of healthcare facilities."
Councils will be expected to act upon this legislation across the UK, and across all member states of the EU as "This Regulation shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States."
Kersten, which supplies products for pesticide-free control, added: "The future of glyphosate is uncertain; what is certain is that councils will have to look at alternative ways of removing weeds in areas where use of glyphosate is restricted."