LETTERS: Canada should follow France’s example and ban glyphosate

While the U.S. and Canada continue to subject their populations and environment to this toxic soup, Europe is taking more sensible steps

Some Surrey residents aren't impressed with a pesticide the city is using to combat an invasive plant species near their home.

The Editor,

Re: “City herbicide linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma,” the Now, July 14.

I was horrified, but not surprised to read that the City of Surrey continues to use glyphosate.

We are told city staff “go off Health Canada” guidelines, which can charitably be called outdated and misguided. And the follow-up WHO study cited in the article that “clarifies health issues around glyphosate” is certainly not the last word on the subject.

The problem is that there are many kinds of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. A 2008 Swedish study found glyphosate exposure tripled the risk of a specific non-Hodgkin lymphoma called lymphocytic lymphoma. However, the alarming link is masked when data is lumped in with other types that may have different causes.

It is not only humans who are injured by these harmful substances. A growing body of evidence has linked neonicotinoids, a class of insecticide, to declining bee populations. However, a new study by German and Argentinian researchers found honey bees exposed to low levels of glyphosate have a hard time returning home.

In a study titled “Effects of Sub-Lethal Doses of Glyphosate on Honeybee Navigation,” published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, researchers found that a single exposure to glyphosate delays the return of foraging honeybees.

SEE ALSO: City of Surrey herbicide linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Other environmental problems linked to glyphosate include adverse effects on earthworms and other soil biota, as well as decline in monarch butterfly populations. The butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed plants which are being destroyed by glyphosate.

While the U.S. and Canada continue to subject their populations and environment to this toxic soup, Europe is taking more sensible steps. In early June, an extension of the license for the use of glyphosate was refused. France is going even further, announcing a ban on glyphosate weed killers.

It is time for Canadian jurisdictions to follow the French example. I’m sure students looking for summer jobs could help to remove the lamium manually, volunteers too, as Mr. Borrie suggests.

C.A. Archibald, Surrey


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