You might have seen a recent episode of Four Corners, The Monsanto Papers. It exposed the tactics that global chemical corporation Monsanto use to protect its billion-dollar business and its product, the weed killer, Roundup, and its primary ingredient, glyphosate.
I was diagnosed with cancer just before my 30th birthday, and at age 31. Four beautiful, bright young women I knew growing up have tragically lost their lives to cancer in the past five years. I don’t want anyone to unnecessarily what these women and their families have been through, or what I have been through. So I’m calling on the Australian Government to take immediate action and restrict the use of glyphosate in public spaces in Australia.
In 2015 glyphosate was classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans” by the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) because of its strong association with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It is also on a list of known carcinogens in the state of California.
In August 2018, a US jury ordered Monsanto to pay Dewayne Johnson – a man dying of cancer – $289 million because it’s Roundup weed killer contributed to his disease. Nine thousand people in America are now suing Monsanto with claims that Roundup contributed to their cancer. Glyphosate has been found by IARC to linger in water, air and food long after it has been sprayed.
Here in Australia, there are around 500 products containing glyphosate registered for use in Australia including Roundup, the most commonly used weed killer in Australia and used by local councils around Australia. This means that children, other people, and their pets who visit parks and gardens around Australia are exposed to this probable carcinogen.
Currently, there are no regulations or checks in place and there is no way for the Australian public to know if their local council is using it according to label directions, nor how it is used or if it is present in the food we buy.
Belgium, Malta, The Netherlands and Argentina have banned or restricted the use of glyphosate. In Argentina, 30,000 doctors demanded the prohibition of glyphosate because it is associated with cancer, birth defects, skin diseases, respiratory illnesses and neurological disease. In November 2017 Emmanuel Macron announced France will issue an outright ban within the next three years.
Australia must now join growing international action to ban or restrict the use of glyphosate. I’m calling on the Federal Government to develop a consistent set of national guidelines, restrictions and regulations on how glyphosate is used until a viable alternative is found. Can you help me send a message to Canberra?
The need to protect the Australian public from associated health risks is urgent. Australians deserve peace of mind that measures are being taken to ensure the areas in which our pets and children play are safe.
It’s time to get serious about addressing the causes of cancer. The Australian Government must act immediately and restrict the use of glyphosate in public spaces in Australia.