Staff wear protective gear to reduce contact

Roundup weedkillers for sale at a hardware store in San Rafael, California.
Roundup weedkillers for sale at a hardware store in San Rafael, California.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

While some in Singapore were shocked by the news that the Roundup weedkiller was found by a US jury to have caused a man's terminal cancer, others maintained that the risks of herbicides have long been known.

One landscaping firm said it would look into stopping its use.

Mr Bryan Guay, director of BSG landscape and construction, said: "Chemicals are hazardous. You should always try to eliminate use of it first, then next is to use substitutions, like maybe diesel or petrol."

While the firm seldom uses herbicides in daily work, it would use Roundup upon clients' requests. Staff wear protective gear when handling the chemicals to minimise contact, said Mr Guay.

Plant nursery and wholesale garden centre Hua Hng will continue selling the brand, said assistant sales manager Ng Keng Guan, adding that use of the herbicide is more popular among landscaping companies than residences.

"It's understood that chemicals, after long-term exposure, will have some impact," said Mr Ng. "(But) there's no law that says you can't sell them."

Nature Society president Shawn Lum felt that a complete ban on herbicides might prove challenging, especially given the widespread dependence on them in large-scale agriculture.

 

He also noted that the full health impacts of the weedkiller are still being debated.

"We need to get a clearer resolution on its health effects."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 12, 2018, with the headline 'Staff wear protective gear to reduce contact'. Print Edition | Subscribe