You’ve probably heard a lot about the recent landmark trial of Dwayne Johnson who is suing weed killer company, Monsanto, after claiming he contracted cancer as a result of using their popular weed killer ‘Roundup’
The trial, which happened last weekend, was a poignant moment for glyphosate and the future.
What was the verdict of the trial between Monsanto and the man who claimed he contracted cancer from Roundup?
The Californian school groundskeeper first took the company to trial claiming that he formed cancer after using the herbicide to control weeds on school grounds.
The trial was taken to court on June 18th, 2018. After months of debating, on August 11th the jury ruled that $289 million must be awarded to Mr Johnson
Despite the verdict, Monsanto still claim that the weed killer is safe for use. However, it’s clear that Dwayne Johnson’s trial success could now set precedent for thousands of other cases that claim that the weed killer could have a serious negative impact on human health. The jury ruling could open the door for roughly 4000 similar U.S. lawuits against Monsanto.
This progress and success for the victim in the trial comes after many years of speculation around the herbicide’s effect on human health.
Previous concerns of glyphosate
Serious concern around glyphosate arose and grew back in 2015 when the World Health Organization’s cancer agency IARC declared that glyphosate is a ‘probable human carcinogen’ – meaning it could potentially cause cancer.
This conclusion was based on observational studies, animal studies and test tube studies. Concerns have risen from the chemical’s link to health and the rise of human exposure to the chemical.
But companies, like Monsanto, that make herbicide products claim that glyphosate is completely safe to use and the scientific evidence from the other side is incorrect. They’re backed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which stated that glyphosate is ‘unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans’
The concern of litigation
Despite arguments for both sides of the debate, there is a precedent which has now been set by the trial. The public has now been made aware that spraying the chemical in their schools, parks and urban green spaces may cause health issues. This means that there’s a possibility that local authorities and grounds managers may be held liable for similar cases of health issues should the herbicide be used.
With the future of the herbicide unclear, and the growing concern around litigation – alternative herbicide-free methods of weed control need to be considered in order to fully mitigate the risk.
What other alternatives are available?
So, in light of the recent case of Dwayne Johnson, the concerns of using herbicides as the primary method of weed control are only going to rise.
Foamstream is safe, versatile, viable cost-effective and effective at both managing green and urban spaces. The solution works on the unwanted vegetation by applying heat to the weed in the form of hot water insulated by a biodegradable foam. The foam acts as a thermal blanket, holding the heat delivered by the hot water on the weed long enough to kill or sufficiently damage it
Benefits of Foamstream include:
- It’s a cost-effective alternative to herbicide and herbicide-free applications as it requires fewer annual treatment cycles.
- Machine multifunctionality means you can also spread costs across multiple departments within your organisation as it can be used for treating unwanted vegetation and all aspects of street cleaning, including gum removal and power washing.
- Can be used in all weather conditions, allowing you to effectively plan and allocate labour resources and avoid any costly down time.
- Doesn’t need on-going operator certification, protective clothing, or specialist training helping you eliminate additional costs attributed to traditional methods of vegetation control.
- No safety risk to the operator, public or the environment. Approved for unrestricted use in all territories we operate in by relevant accreditation bodies (including Organic Farmers & Growers Association and Soil Association in the UK).
The foam is made from a blend of natural plant oils and sugars & has been approved for organic use, and as safe and non-toxic across the globe by numerous bodies. It has unrestricted use so can be used around people (including being safe for operators), animals, delicate ecosystems and waterways
The goal posts for glyphosate are moving. Is your municipality looking for an alternative solution for use around parks, schools, pets & people?