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Bibbin  
#1 Posted : 23 May 2019 09:25:11(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Bibbin

Hi, following the ruling in Amercia regarding the use of Glyphosate, how has this affected how we use it here in the UK?   Are we still just carrying out a COSHH risk assessment which is difficult because the exact makeup of Glyphosate is a trade secret?

We are only using small quantities for weed killing.   Is it business as usual?

Many thanks

CptBeaky  
#2 Posted : 23 May 2019 09:37:42(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
CptBeaky

AFAIK there is still no scientific evidence that glyphosate causes cancer. These are civil cases decided by jury, not experts. The much cited WHO article saying that glyphosate is "prabably carcinogenic" was based on "limited evidence" and the European Food Standards Agency dismissed this based on a much larger study.

I am not saying it is not carcinogenic, but based on the evidence and infomation available from the government agencies used in the UK there is no substantial evidence. So, that being said, we have to go by that ruling. Make your own choices, of course. And of course RoundUp is a different beast altogether, considering we don't know the exact ingredient list.

thanks 1 user thanked CptBeaky for this useful post.
A Kurdziel on 23/05/2019(UTC)
CptBeaky  
#3 Posted : 23 May 2019 09:41:37(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
CptBeaky

Originally Posted by: CptBeaky Go to Quoted Post

AFAIK there is still no scientific evidence that glyphosate causes cancer. These are civil cases decided by jury, not experts. The much cited WHO article saying that glyphosate is "prabably carcinogenic" was based on "limited evidence" and the European Food Safety Authority dismissed this based on a much larger study.

I am not saying it is not carcinogenic, but based on the evidence and infomation available from the government agencies used in the UK there is no substantial evidence. So, that being said, we have to go by that ruling. Make your own choices, of course. And of course RoundUp is a different beast altogether, considering we don't know the exact ingredient list.

A Kurdziel  
#4 Posted : 23 May 2019 10:42:02(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

The current position of the Pesticides Safety Division which is now part of the HSE is here:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pesticides/topics/using-pesticides/general/glyphosate-faqs.htm

The court case as mentioned by Cpt. Beaky is American and a civil case based of negligence tried before a jury; it has limited relevance to the real world.

Crag  
#5 Posted : 24 May 2019 11:22:38(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Crag

We're using the HSE's FAQ's as mentioned as any response to employee/client questions and will point anyone with any queries in the direction of the HSE's website. Assessments have been reviewed and communicated again to all operatives.

Roundtuit  
#6 Posted : 24 May 2019 12:35:26(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

https://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/pesticides/glyphosate_en

.....glyphosate can be used as an active substance in Plant Protection Products (PPPs), until 15 December 2022 - applications to continue use must be submitted by December 2019.

RichardPerry1066  
#7 Posted : 29 May 2019 09:26:03(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
RichardPerry1066

To add to the other responses.

I agree with the comments about the opinion of a US jury being largely irrelevant in the UK. However, whilst there is even a shadow of doubt about the potential ill effects of using any substance we should adopt a "minimise the risk" approach so apply exactly the same COSHH principles as we would for any other substance. I'm not going to teach all the experts on here to suck eggs but we should always consider...

Substitution - for an innocuous product (for example steam for weeds in paving).

Using the minimum quantity

Using it only where we really need to

Using it only when we need to 

direct application rather than spray

Droplets rather than mist

Planning the programme to avoid walking through sprayed areas

reducing the number of times we spray

And of course training and PPE.

It doesnt really matter whether or not Glyphosate is harmful or not - those are just sensible precautions to use with any product where we are not quite sure.

They'll save you money too.

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CptBeaky on 05/06/2019(UTC)
MikeKelly  
#8 Posted : 31 May 2019 19:02:44(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
MikeKelly

Hi 

I think it would be extremely rash to ignore the cases, even if they are from the USA-another common law jurisdiction. It's law is very similar to ours and decisions may have persuasive application in certain circumstances here.

It might in future, be the case, that glyphosphate/roundup joins the ranks of asbestos, lead, noise, beta-napthylamine and numerous other hazards where people suffered because of the failure to even consider the 'precautionary principle' and just followed the 'generation game' ie count up the dead or damaged bodies after a generation and say that wasn't such a good idea, eh?

It's also true that civil cases have been extremely important in establishing causation and liability given that regulators are generally poor at taking cases-white collar crime etc.

$2 Billion in punitive damages-support it or not- it's had a major effect on Bayer who 'took over' what was Monsanto [for $63 billion], and have been ditching the name since-share prices falling-maybe further when the other 13,000 cases come on. I do support the punitive damages given the profits made by the company-although it seems that the Supreme Court could limit the amount to 9 or 10 times the compensatory element of $55 million. So, good luck to the plaintiffs [and their lawyers?]

I wouldn't use the stuff at any price.

Regards

Mike 

 

chris.packham  
#9 Posted : 01 June 2019 08:14:49(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
chris.packham

One of the problems with any new chemical is that we simply do not have any methods of testing over a relatively short period for chronic (long term) effects. All we can do is compare the chemical formula with that of known hazards that have been around for a long time and try to draw some conclusions. Unfortunately, even this is not a simple process as there is a very large range of factors that can affect our conclusions. So even if the results of our safety evaluation appear to indicate that a new chemical is safe we still need to monitor just in case we have missed something!

A Kurdziel  
#10 Posted : 03 June 2019 09:26:19(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

Glyphosate has been used since the 1970’s (that’s 40 odd years) there have been a number of studies of its health impact over the years but overall it has been given a clean bill of health from the authorities.  It is has a significant on the way that crops are grown since its introduction. Essentially it targets bread leaf “weeds” and encourages the growth of narrow leaf grains. It has been a significant factor in the increase of grain yields around the world in the past 40 years.  The down side is that the “weeds” have almost been eliminated in many parts of the world which has caused a decrease in bio-diversity. The “green” lobbies have had it in for glyphosate for years. In addition Monsanto who developed the herbicide have also been in the forefront of developing genetically modified broadleaf crops (eg sugar beet and rape) which are resistant to the Glyphosate. The introduction of such crops would encourage farmers to use more herbicide. The EU has banned these GM crops (so far) but they are widely grown in many parts of the world including the US.

Glyphosate is therefore very political.

As for the US legal system: I stand by my statement that it has no relevance to the UK. Civil cases for negligence in the US are decided by juries (unlike the UK) and the juries also decide on the level of damages to be paid and they can and do include punitive damages (not allowed in the UK) in the final compensation pay-out. Cases as often taken on as a class action where lawyers take cases not on behalf of an individual but for a class of person. They can then ask for massive amounts of damages since cases like this can potentially involve millions of people. This releases huge sums of money of which a significant amount goes to the lawyers. The US and UK legal system diverged a long time ago.

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CptBeaky on 03/06/2019(UTC)
MikeKelly  
#11 Posted : 04 June 2019 10:13:49(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
MikeKelly

Hi Andrew/Chris,

We'll have to remain at odds over the effect of US Cases. There are two schools of thought although 13000 cases will make a huge impact-particularly on Bayer, perhaps?

Although there have been two successful cases here in France [one over a period of 12 years+]and Australia has opened the batting with their first case. A complete ban is due on glyphosate products.

I think these will be significant drivers. And all the spin in the world will not defend Monsanto/Bayer for much longer.

I believe it's really important for the precautionary principle to be in the forefront of decision makers minds, not necessarily for only new products as  Chris says [difficult to, I agree] but also when information comes to light that harm is being caused and x is the likely culprit

In addition, in France, an administrative tribunal has banned the use of a specific glyphosate compound on the basis that there was no consideration given to the precautionary principle in assessing harm.

I also think that the fact it has been around for 40 years is irrelevant as the same argument could have been [and was I think] advanced for asbestos, tobacco, etc etc.

So, we will have to wait and see what transpires here

Best regards

Mike

CptBeaky  
#12 Posted : 04 June 2019 10:33:31(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
CptBeaky

Overwhelmingly the scientific evidence shows that at the levels humans are exposed there is no evidence of a link with cancer. Even when animals were subjected to ridiculously high doses it did not increase the base risk. There is no link to dose increase and risk increase, suggesting there is no causal link. (in fact high doses just seemed to make male rats live longer!). Furthermore, WHO retracted their "probably carcinogenic" statement a year after they made it, but surprisingly it didn't make the news.

Glyphosate concerns are driven by a mistrust of GMOs, more than the chemical itself. Did you know, for example, the reason they recommend you keep your pets in has far more to do with the risk of them spreading it to your lawn that the actual risk to animals themselves? As H&S advisers etc. we have to follow the science, the guidance and common sense, there is no place for 'feels'. We can't ban something because we feel it might be bad, we need evidence.

That being said we still follow COSHH rules (as stated by Richard Perry above) we substitute for a proven less toxic process, we use as little as possible, we only use it when required etc.

Using a civil law case in a country with a completely different legal system as just not sensible, no matter how much it agrees to a preconceived bias we have. As I said, I don't know if it causes cancer, but I have no proof that it does and plenty of evidence that it doesn't. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5515989/ is a great read to understand how the EFSA reached their conclusion

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A Kurdziel on 04/06/2019(UTC)
douglas.dick  
#13 Posted : 05 June 2019 07:33:19(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
douglas.dick

The operative applying this will no dobt hold PA1 + PA6a tickets, they will be best placed to provide information about methods of application as well as alternatives to Glyphosate. The area being treated is also important as there are other additives or methods of weed control available.

If a product that has Glyphosate as the active ingredient is the method chosen, then in the UK we are cleared for its use by all authorities. Follow the product MSDS is all you need to do and apply it with someone PA1 + PA6a trained.

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A Kurdziel on 05/06/2019(UTC)
boblewis  
#14 Posted : 05 June 2019 09:28:32(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
boblewis

Originally Posted by: RichardPerry1066 Go to Quoted Post

To add to the other responses.

I agree with the comments about the opinion of a US jury being largely irrelevant in the UK. However, whilst there is even a shadow of doubt about the potential ill effects of using any substance we should adopt a "minimise the risk" approach so apply exactly the same COSHH principles as we would for any other substance. I'm not going to teach all the experts on here to suck eggs but we should always consider...

Substitution - for an innocuous product (for example steam for weeds in paving).

Using the minimum quantity

Using it only where we really need to

Using it only when we need to 

direct application rather than spray

Droplets rather than mist

Planning the programme to avoid walking through sprayed areas

reducing the number of times we spray

And of course training and PPE.

It doesnt really matter whether or not Glyphosate is harmful or not - those are just sensible precautions to use with any product where we are not quite sure.

They'll save you money too.

Really must emphasise training - use of this substance as a weedkiller at work will necessitate the use of formally trained personnel.

thanks 1 user thanked boblewis for this useful post.
A Kurdziel on 11/06/2019(UTC)
chris.packham  
#15 Posted : 11 June 2019 06:42:53(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
chris.packham

In the March issue of the Annals of Work Exposures and Health there is a report of a study on glyphosate exposure (Evaluating Glyphosate Exposure Routes and Their Contribution to Total Body Burden: A Study Among Amenity Horticulturalists - Connolly A et al).

Conclusion from the abstract states:

'To the authors' knowledge this is the first study to have investigated both dermal and inadvertent exposure to glyphosate and their contribution to total body burden. Data show the dermal exposure is the prominent route of exposure in comparison to inadvertent ingestion but inadvertent ingestion may contribute to total body burden. The study also identified potential exposure to non-pesticide users in the workplace and para-occupational exposures.'

Chris

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