Cancer causing or ‘Fake news’

By Guy LeNoir and Stuart Platt

There has been a bit of public concern recently to ‘Round-Up’ and its link to cancer. Round-up is a herbicide weed killer with the main active ingredient ‘Glyphosate’. It was first developed by Monsanto in the 1970s (an American agrochemical & agricultural biotechnology). Mosanto is now owned by Bayer (a German multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences company).

In Australia more than 500 Glyphosate products are available. Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide and crop desiccant. It’s an organophosphorus compound (a phosphonate) and acts by inhibiting the plants enzymes.

Its main use is to kill weeds, mainly annual broadleaf weeds and grasses that compete with crops, garden beds (and on pathways) & prior to crop harvest. Round-up is readily available throughout Australia, which has been used extensively in the agricultural industries as well as residential back yards.

In late 2018 Australia’s senior cancer body (Cancer Council Australia) had called for an independent review of the world’s most well-known herbicide which, has been linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (see recent US court cases). As in 2015, the World Health Organisation’s cancer agency IARC, stated that glyphosate is “Probably carcinogenic to humans” (1).

However, in 2017 the European Union decided to renew the licence for the use of glyphosate. In 2016, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) said in a review that ‘it had found no grounds to place Roundup under formal reconsideration’ to being classed as a ‘potential carcinogenic” (2). Monsanto (3) owners Bayer maintains the chemical is safe.

Today, various countries around the world have faced public pressure to ban or phase out products containing glyphosate. At least 17 Countries around the World have now Banned or restricted the use of Roundup (4). Now with those recent court cases in the US (5), dozens of local councils, businesses and organisations across Australia are now moving to reduce (or eliminate) their reliance of the weed killer.

Several councils are currently trialing alternatives and their numbers are growing. Several recent news articles in Australia has reignited the potential issue with Roundup:

Some recent articles:

-Roundup cancer link sees Blacktown workers strike (500 workers stop work) (6)

-Melbourne gardener launches legal action against Monsanto in first Australian Roundup lawsuit (7)

-Concerned about Roundup? Some local councils are already trying alternatives (8)

-Secret tactics chemical giant used to protect star product Roundup (9)

This issue now appears to be affecting people’s lives not exposed to the chemical. Until the case for or against glyphosate and its cancer link can be proven or not? In recent research conducted in the United states, by a not for profit environmental advocacy organisation, glyphosate was identified in 26 out of 28 breakfast cereal samples (10).

The Australia’s regulator, the ‘Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority’ (APVMA), has not formally reviewed glyphosate since 1995 (and have no intention anytime soon). The APVMA website states, “They have considered the evidence presented in several cases and found no grounds to take regulatory action in Australia” (October 2018).

If you do have any concerns using Roundup there are several alternatives available, both commercially and homemade. Below are some alternatives you could consider if you where thinking of reducing or eliminating your use of Roundup.

Alternatives to Roundup

  • Hand weeding
  • Use a shovel (works well on paving)
  • Epsom Salt, apple cider, Dishwashing Liquid mixture (spray on)
  • Straight Vinegar, or apple cider vinegar (spray on)
  • Hot water/steam
  • Livestock/Animals: Let your guinea pigs, rabbits or chooks onto the area
  • Organic spray; “Slasher” Pelargonic acid. An alternative to roundup.
  • Nonanoic Acid based weed killer (11)

 Note: Best Homemade Weed Killer (12):

  • Epsom Salt
  • Apple cider
  • ½ Cup Eco dishwashing detergent (Surfactant)

No matter what the outcome, Roundup and its main in gradient ‘glyphosate’ will stay in the forefront of people’s interest and their concern for some time. If you want more detail or need any assistance do not hesitate to give us a call SOS #0418928558.


  1. IARC Monograph on Glyphosate (IARC)
  2. Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA)
  3. Monsanto
  4. Glyphosate Herbicides Now Banned or Restricted in 17 Countries Worldwide (Sustainable Pulse Research)
  5. Monsanto ordered to pay $2 billion to couple who say they contracted cancer after using the weedkiller Roundup
  6. Roundup cancer link sees Blacktown workers strike and Belgium backpacker search called off
  7. Melbourne gardener launches legal action against Monsanto in first Australian Roundup lawsuit
  8. Concerned about Roundup? Some local councils are already trying alternatives
  9. Secret tactics chemical giant used to protect star product Roundup
  10. Dozens more breakfast cereals and snacks test positive for glyphosate
  11. Nonanoic acid (U.S. National Library of medicine
  12. Best Homemade Weed Killer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *