Hundreds of people have written to the Environmental Protection Authority as part of their recent “call for information” on glyphosate.
The controversial weed-killer, which has been linked to cancer by some scientists , is currently under the microscope and could be reviewed in New Zealand due to intense debate over whether or not it’s safe to use.
It remains one of the most widely-used chemicals in the country and is sprayed on footpaths, parks and farms, with the approval of New Zealand's Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).
That’s despite a ruling from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, which found glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic to humans” in 2015.
Glyphosate manufacturer Bayer strongly denies this but recently agreed to pay out $10 billion to 95,000 plaintiffs who claim the chemical caused them to develop an aggressive cancer named non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
In New Zealand, the EPA contends glyphosate is safe to use - but recently announced it would “take another look” at the chemical.
Their general manager of hazardous substances, Dr Chris Hill, asked the public to send in information describing how they use the weed-killer.
That “call” wrapped up last month and Hill says they have now received 465 responses.
“There has been a pretty even split between responses from the public, and users and suppliers of glyphosate,” he said in a statement.
“It was good to see a decent representation from all sectors.”
The EPA received 206 responses from the public, 13 responses from industry groups, 15 from councils, two from Government departments, 41 from professional applicators and 18 from livestock farmers.
Fifteen responses were sent by those involved in the “supply chain” including importers, manufacturers, retailers and suppliers.
Hill added the information would be used to “inform” the EPA ahead of a huge glyphosate review underway in the European Union this year.
“The European Chemicals Agency and the European Food Safety Authority are in the process of reviewing the classification and approval of glyphosate, with their conclusions set to be released in mid-2022,” his statement reads.
“The information we have received from our call for information will enable us to have a greater understanding of the New Zealand context by the time the EU findings are published.”
However, Hill refused to take an interview on the subject and provided no detail on whether the EPA will run its own review.
The information will be analysed over the coming months, with a summary report due in “early 2022”, his statement said.