COCKBURN council will continue using glyphosate for weed management despite community concerns.
The city decided to review its use of the weed killer after residents were worried that long-term spraying could cause cancer in pets and humans and damage the ecosystem.
But a council report said the herbicide was safe and councillors voted unanimously to keep using it.
“City officers have been in touch with the department of health and their response is that glyphosate is still a registered pesticide and there is no intention by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to deregulate it,” read the officer’s report.
“…The APVMA concluded that glyphosate does not pose a cancer risk to humans.”
Officers noted that organic alternatives to glyphosate were not as effective and generally more expensive, although Armadale council reported they had enjoyed good results when using highly concentrated vinegar on some broadleaf weeds in sedges and rushes.
A total of 16 councils confirmed they were using glyphosate, with some using a mix of the herbicide and organic treatments:
• Peppermint Grove is trialling “eco-organic” with mixed results;
• Fremantle uses steam on roads/kerb lines/footpaths with glyphosate used in parks an reserves;
• Bassendean banned glyphosate on hard surfaces but still using it in parks; and,
• Stirling uses steam on hard surfaces and glyphosate in reserves.
Cockburn councillors did approve a $5000 steam-weeding trial for pavements and car parks around the city’s admin building.
“Steaming is more expensive than spraying by a factor of at least two,” cautioned officers.