WIMMERA councils and farmer groups have spoken out about the alleged health risks associated with glyphosate with the weed control chemical once again in the spotlight.
Horsham Rural City, and Yarriambiack and Hindmarsh shire councils have confirmed their workers used glyphosate for weed control.
It comes after confirmation of the first Australian lawsuit against Bayer for the role its product Roundup played in allegedly causing cancer.
Last week the daughter of Brimpaen's Bernie and Dot Dunn, Chelsea Woolston, said she "strongly believed" Roundup caused both her parents to prematurely die from pancreatic cancer.
Horsham council's infrastructure director John Martin said the council's position aligned with national safety standards.
"Our position is based on the national authority on these chemicals, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, and their position is that products containing glyphosate are safe to use according to the label instructions," he said.
"The Authority's position is cognisant of recent overseas court cases. I am aware that the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has started - or soon will start - an investigation into glyphosate. We will review that with keen interest."
He said the council was "conscious of the potential risks of all chemicals".
"Council ensures that its operators are trained in their use, have the appropriate equipment, and apply the chemicals in the appropriate circumstances," he said.
Yarriambiack council's infrastructure and planning general manager James Magee said the council used "organic chemicals" for weed control in built-up areas, and glyphosate outside of the shire's towns.
"We're not concerned at this point and are confident it's not a risk. We are cautious and are trialling other methods, with the organic chemicals," he said.
"Our employees are well trained with the use of the chemical."
Hindmarsh council's acting director infrastructure services Janette Fritsch said the council used the chemical for weed control.
"The council is reviewing its current works practices around using glyphosate. It has done this previously and looked at alternative practices," she said.
Grain Producers Australia chairman Andrew Weidemann, of Rupanyup, said glyphosate was one of the safest chemicals used on farms.
"We're certainly watching what is happening with the court cases, but there is no scientific evidence that would suggest that our usage pattern should change," he said.
"The environmental impacts of not having glyphosate would be catastrophic for the farming sector. If you look at the environmental change in farming practices they have all been of the back of the usage of glyphosate."
Mr Weidemann said glyphosate was used by farmers both prior to sowing and for drying down crops later in the season.
"It has been a wonderful chemical that has really revolutionised farming. If you use it according to the safety instructions on the label, you shouldn't have any issues," he said.
"Our federal regulator has some of the highest standards in the world and it has chosen at this stage not to review it."
Victorian Farmers Federation president David Jochinke, of Murra Warra, said all agriculture chemicals needed to be treated with respect.
"That's making sure you're using the correct protection and following labels instructions," he said.
"The chemical has been tested and has had numerous scientific research done on it. If people are applying it without the appropriate personal protection equipment, that's something as an industry that we need to take responsibility for."
Mr Jochinke said losing glyphosate would completely change the way the Australian agriculture industry farmed.
"The environmental benefits of glyphosate means we've been able to reduce cultivation dramatically compared to previous generations which has improved soil health and structure. Cultivation is very inefficient in controlling weeds in comparison to one application of glyphosate," he said.
The Mail-Times contacted West Wimmera Shire Council for comment, but didn't receive a response before deadline.
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