Mitch Harris: 'Sprays on vegetables is a top reason to go organic'

Night Talk 13/08/2018
Credit: File.

Night Talk - Mitch Harris opening comments, Monday 13th August 2018.

Tonight: What are your views on chemical sprays that are used in the garden?

A public health professor is calling for national restrictions on Roundup weed killer.

Monsanto, the makers of the herbicide, were ordered to pay millions of dollars to Dewayne Johnson, a groundskeeper who developed cancer.

Monsanto intends to appeal the decision, but in the meantime, what does it mean for Kiwis using the same product?

Massey University Centre for Public Health Research professor John Potter told The AM Show glyphosate - a key ingredient in Roundup - has officially been designated a "probable carcinogen" by the cancer research arm of the World Health Organisation.

German company Bayer, who owns agriculture giant Monsanto, says herbicides containing glyphosate are safe.

"There are a large number of countries who have banned or restricted the use of it," Mr Potter said.

And yet, in New Zealand there are no restrictions on the product.

"A lot of people assume that because it's so widely available and so widely used, that there are no problems with it," Mr Potter said.

"We need to begin to think seriously about whether it should be banned for domestic use, which is probably a good step."

He also said councils who use the weed killer on verges, greens and schools should reconsider their use, as should wider agriculture businesses who use it.

Night Talk with Mitch Harris, 8pm - 12am Monday to Thursday nights on RadioLIVE, and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.