100 signatures reached
To: Rotorua Lakes District Mayor Steve Chadwick and Rotorua Lakes Council
STOP THE USE OF TOXIC GLYPHOSATE ON ROTORUA'S ROADS AND PARKS NOW
We are calling on Rotorua Lakes Council to rapidly phase out the use of the toxic herbicide glyphosate (commonly known as Roundup) and to urgently trial safer weed control methods. Glyphosate damages hormones, is neurotoxic, affects gut health, causes antibiotic immunity and has recently been re-classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a Class 2A probable human carcinogen.
Why is this important?
The Rotorua Lakes Council (RLC) and the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) employ contractors to spray Rotorua's road edges, parks and rural road marker posts and edges with the herbicide glyphosate and its additives. These are generally done beyond the required standard (i.e. they use more than is recommended).
In March 2015 the International Agency for Research on Cancer IARC (part of the World Health Organisation (WHO) ruled that glyphosate (commonly known as Roundup and other proprietary names) was a probable human carcinogen based on evidence that linked the chemical to non- Hodgkin's lymphoma and extensive DNA and chromosome damage in humans; as well as tumours of the kidney, pancreas, skin and blood vessels and DNA and chromosome damage in animals.
In addition to the 'probable cancer' statement above, other scientific research has found that:
• Glyphosate is an antibiotic causing some bacteria to become immune to antibiotics (Prof. Jack Heinemann et al., Canterbury University 2015.)
• Glyphosate affects the environment by breaking down more slowly than previously thought.
• Glyphosate disrupts learning behaviours in bees. The concentrations of glyphosate used in farming can reduce sensitivity to nectar reward and impair associative learning in bees.
• Glyphosate in the formulation known as Roundup is more toxic than glyphosate on its own because of the added surfactants.
• Glyphosate poses a genetic hazard to fish and contributes to long lasting damage.
• There is no safe level because neither glyphosate nor glyphosate-based herbicides have been assessed at sub-lethal concentrations.
Since significant research findings have shown that glyphosate and its surfactants pose a material, health and environmental hazard, the New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has not undertaken a review of its earlier opinion that approved these substances in 2005 and 2009.
Rotorua Lakes Council says it is prepared to consider alternatives that are cost effective, but has not yet made any move to phase out glyphosate. The council needs to put a higher weighting on people's and the environment's well-being, and not confine itself to a limited analysis based only on the immediate operating costs. The danger that glyphosate poses to our health and environment translates to a major economic cost to our society.
Alternative weed management methods are available, such as plant oil-fatty-acid based herbicides, hot water (better and cheaper than steam), mowing, hand weeding (providing employment), steam guns (for the gardener), weed trimmers, mulching and allowing some areas to go wild, where there are ecological benefits. See this file for a discussion of alternatives: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/beachheroes/pages/1997/attachments/original/1453071596/Alternatives_for_Councils.pdf
North Shore and city areas of Auckland have been using non-chemical alternatives for 20 years successfully.
For references relating to the above information and for further detrimental effects of glyphosate see Glyphosate: No Safe Level 2015 by Jodie Bruning B.Bus.Agribusiness (Monash)