TUC calls for action on glyphosate

UK union body TUC is calling for union safety reps to ensure workers are not exposed to a cancer-causing pesticide. A new briefing says because of the unquestionable risks posed by glyphosate, which can also cause short- and long-term skin, eye and respiratory problems and serious liver and kidney damage, it is “necessary to try to prevent any workers coming into contact with glyphosate.”

The TUC briefing comes in the wake of a March 2015 report in the journal Lancet Oncology, which revealed the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) new classification of glyphosate – the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup and the world’s most widely-used herbicide – as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

IARC, a part of the World Health Organisation (WHO), cites evidence in Canada, Sweden and the USA linking workers’ occupational exposure to glyphosate to increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The report led to calls from the global food and farming union IUF to keep deadly pesticides out of the workplace and the food chain. The UK Alliance for Cancer Prevention said the use of glyphosate largely to kill off weeds in urban areas was not justified.

According to the TUC: “No workers should be put at risk of exposure to any substance that can lead to cancer. Many employers will not know about the risks from glyphosate, especially as the manufacturers still continue to insist there is no risk, despite the evidence.”

It adds: “Health and safety representatives should make sure they bring the information to their attention. Safety representatives must ensure that their employer reviews their risk assessments and share the results with them.” Safety reps have a right to see this information, the TUC said.


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