Health fears over Islington Council’s use of ‘harmful’ pesticide

Cllr Caroline Russell with Vicky Wilson in her meadow

Cllr Caroline Russell with Vicky Wilson in her meadow - Credit: Archant

Weed killer used by council ‘may be linked to cancer’

Islington residents have voiced concerns over the council’s use of a pesticide that has been potentially linked to causing cancer in humans.

Glysophate is the UK’s most commonly used herbicide chemical and is used by the council’s parks and green spaces.

The World Health Organisation recently found the pesticide to be “probably carcinogenic to humans”.

Now, Vicky Wilson, 50, of Highbury New Park, alleges that the death of her cats from cancer is linked to them coming into contact with glysophate whilst being outside. She said: “I’m concerned about my cats because over the years 10 out of my 12 cats have died of cancer.”

Ms Wilson, who works as a childminder, fears the children in her care could also suffer the effects of the weed killer.

“I’m worried about the children I look after and the effect it’s having on them. I think it’s disgusting, the fact we know pesticides are killing everything and they still use them.”

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Islington Council’s executive member for Environment and Transport, Cllr Claudia Webbe, said: “The council use Glysophate to treat weeds, including Japanese Knotweed and harmful species such as Giant Hogweed.

“The health of residents and our staff – who are trained and tested to use it – is a priority and we appreciate some residents have concerns. However, the EU, DEFRA and Health and Safety Executive have approved its use.”

She added: “We do try to minimise its usage where we can and will keep its use under review.”

Recently, the council rejected the motion put forward by Green Party Councillor Caroline Russell for the town hall and its contractors to stop using glysophate in the borough.

Ms Russell said: “While council operatives spraying glyphosate wear full protective clothing, residents including babies and young children, as well as pets and wild animals, have no such protection and no choice about their exposure.

“I am deeply concerned that this poison is being sprayed into the air and onto the pavements and we are all breathing it in, as well as it getting onto our clothes, hair and skin.”