A potentially dangerous weed killer has been permanently banned from council play parks following health concerns.
Staff at North Somerset Council had been using glyphosate to kill weeds on authority land. But after the potential health risks came to light during a council meeting last month a decision has now been made to stop using the chemical in play areas altogether.
A temporary ban had been in place while officers compiled a full report on the potential dangers. Glyphosate has been described as “probably carcinogenic to humans” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organisation.
However, studies differ on whether the chemical, which is used in many commercial weed killers around the world, is actually dangerous.
In a statement North Somerset’s director of development and environment, David Carter, has said the use of glyphosate in play areas will stop with “immediate effect”. He added: “The use of glyphosate in play areas is already very limited and Glendale, the council’s parks and streetscene contractor, has been written to and will cease the use of glyphosate in play areas altogether and with immediate effect.”
But he said the use of the weed killer on highways would continue while possible alternatives are investigated.
Mr Carter added: “The application of weed killer is now restricted to one full cycle per annum (this was previously three applications per annum).
“Blanket application across the highway network in April/May has been shown to be the most efficient and effective method of controlling the growth of weeds.”
“If left unchecked they can look unsightly, can cause damage to paving and other highway infrastructure and has been the cause of complaints when this work has not been carried out.”