RADA says Glyphosate poses no risk when used appropriately
The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) is seeking to assure Jamaicans that the herbicide, glyphosate, poses no risk to public health when it is used in accordance with its label.
Speaking at a recent Jamaica Information Service ‘Think Tank’, Principal Director, Technical Services, RADA, Marina Young, said there have been numerous reviews of research findings to assess the risk the herbicide poses to public health between 2015 and 2019.
“The latest review was done in March/April 2019 which concluded that if glyphosate is used following its most current label, it does not cause risk to public health. A second outcome of the extensive review showed that glyphosate is not a cause of cancer,” she noted.
According to Young, RADA and the Pesticide Control Authority have been very diligent in ensuring that the heavily used registered pesticides are in the lower toxicity levels and will have the least impact on the environment and users' health.
“In Jamaica, glyphosate is used in 11 different products. Nine of those products which have glyphosate as the main ingredient are Class IV toxicity pesticides and are registered by the PCA for agricultural use and non-crop or industrial purposes. The other two products are Class III toxicity,” she added.
Based on the World Health Organization Hazard Classification, Class IV is the lowest in terms of acute toxicity with Class I being the most toxic.
Young noted that glyphosate is one of the most commonly used herbicides because of the climate.
“Jamaican agriculture is under tropical conditions and weeds are a major challenge to the crops as they compete for water, sunlight, nutrients and space; therefore, the use of the chemical is very essential for the successful management of the weeds,” she explained.
Glyphosate-based pesticides are typically applied before seeds are sown or crops planted.
The herbicide is registered locally to be used on the following crops: banana, citrus, coconut, coffee, mango, papaya, sugar cane, pumpkin, corn, pineapple, sweet and Irish potato and some vegetables.