South Tyneside Council will keep using weedkiller linked to cancer

Councils say only qualified staff administer weedkillers.
Councils say only qualified staff administer weedkillers.

There are no plans to stop council workers using the weedkiller glyphosate – despite a US court ruling in favour of a gardener who claimed the chemical caused his terminal cancer.

South Tyneside Council (STC) has said it is satisfied it is safe to use by ‘trained and competent staff’.

Last week, a jury in California ruled it had “substantially” contributed to groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis in 2014.

And it led to manufacturer Monsanto, which uses the substance in its Roundup range, being ordered to pay $289m (£226m) in damages.

A South Tyneside Council spokesperson said: “The council currently uses this common ingredient as part of the maintenance of its green spaces and highways.

“The ingredient is carefully administered by fully trained staff within the application guidelines.

“Similar weed killers are widely available in DIY outlets and garden centres.

“We follow government regulations for weed control and await any further guidance from DEFRA on the matter.”

A statement on Monsanto’s website said ‘more than 800 scientific studies and reviews’ had proved glyphosate does not cause cancer and said it would appeal the court’s ruling.

James Harrison, Local Democracy Reporting Service