North Lanarkshire Council has confirmed it will continue to use glyphosate-based weedkillers despite a landmark court case in America.
Chemicals company Monsanto, which manufactures Roundup and other herbicide products, was ordered to pay former groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson $289m in damages after jurors in San Francisco determined his terminal cancer was caused by the chemicals he worked with.
Monsanto intends to appeal the ruling and continues to deny any link between glyphosate and cancer. It faces another 4000 court cases across America.
A council spokesman said: “We have no immediate plans to stop using this form of weed killer, which has not been banned. However, we are keeping abreast of the latest guidance and should this change then we would take appropriate action.”
Beth Webb, policy manager at Soil Association Scotland, said: “This is a dramatic blow to the future use of glyphosate, which affirms the World Health Organisation’s 2015 decision which found glyphosate to be a probable carcinogen.
“We need to urgently change our systems of weed control to stop relying on herbicides. It was disturbing in this case to hear that Monsanto had knowledge of the potentially harmful effects, but the court case also really highlights the problem with relying on chemical pesticides globally as so little is known about the long-term environmental and health impacts.
“We continue to call for a stop to spraying this chemical on crops at harvest time and to its use in parks and gardens, and for a thorough rethink of pesticide regulations.”
In June Monsanto was taken over by German firm Bayer.
In a statement Bayer said: “Bayer is confident, based on the strength of the science, the conclusions of regulators around the world and decades of experience, that glyphosate is safe for use and does not cause cancer when used according to the label.”