County Stops Roundup Use in 2019

At a special County Council meeting on Friday June 7, County Council voted to discontinue the use of Roundup for vegetation control along County road guide rails and within the County Forest, for 2019.  A delegation by Faye McFarlane, Tom Shea, and Bruce Bellaire, Volunteers with Blue Dot Northumberland, made the case that the arguments used to win the Monsanto court case in California apply and that Roundup use should cease.  Staff argued that Health Canada and all pesticide regulators said it was OK but nevertheless deferred a decision to Council.  It seems that scientists don’t all agree – besides it’s become a political hot potato. Most vegetation control currently uses mowers “and other forms of preventive maintenance” so Roundup was never used extensively in Northumberland.


The use of Roundup in Northumberland is for a limited number of cases such as roadside guide rails, where staff could be exposed to toxic weeds such as poison ivy and wild parsnip and be exposed to insects such as ticks carrying disease.  However, staff did offer an alternative using machinery that could be rented and would cost $84,500 for 2019 versus $12,000 if Roundup is used.

In Ontario, Roundup (based on glyphosate) is classified as a class 9 pesticide and according to Ontario regulations, “Class 9 pesticides are banned for cosmetic purposes because they may pose an unnecessary risk to human health, particularly children’s health.”  However, they are allowed for noxious weed control as used by the County.

The most recent California court case accused Monsanto of knowing that Roundup could cause cancer but did not issue a warning. The jury awarded a senior California couple $2B (that’s a B). There are other similar court cases completed and outstanding. Last October, big German chemical company Bayer bought Monsanto – so now they are on the hook for damages. They plan to appeal.

In the end, Council voted to direct staff to not use Roundup and to spend the extra money on machinery and operators – at least for this year.  Council then asked staff to “return to Council with a report this fall outlining mechanical, chemical and biological options for vegetation control for future years.”


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4 years ago

What about using the weed control called ‘Fiesta’? Our neighbour has had an application, or two, of this chemical, on their lawn and it is working! We looked it up on Google and it seems to be safe?
Just a suggestion for the county.

Reply to  Ken
4 years ago

How about using nothing? “Weeds” are beneficial to us all. A weed free lawn is bad for the environment plain and simple. They are nothing but cosmetic and superficial.

Reply to  Ken
4 years ago

Fiesta is a selective herbicide for lawn weeds. Roundup is non selective, as in it kills all vegetation safely.

4 years ago

Anytime the use of herbicides can be curtailed is good news.

Just Wondering
4 years ago

I guess the petition pertaining to this issue that was circulating on Facebook did some good.

John Draper
Reply to  Just Wondering
4 years ago

It was not mentioned in the County’s report.

Just Wondering
Reply to  John Draper
4 years ago

Come to think of it, the petition may have been for Port Hope, not the county. I’m no longer on Facebook, so can’t check.

4 years ago

Excellent! Let us hope for a ban on Roundup everywhere and permanently.

4 years ago

This such good news!

Miriam Mutton
4 years ago

I attended the meeting for about an hour and heard several presentations from the public including both for and against the County proposed use of Roundup for routine maintenance. What was clear is that use of the product is not only a local concern but global affecting not only those coming into direct contact with the chemical but, due to documented changes caused at the cellular levels, for generations to come. One presenter even listed the countries which currently ban the use of the chemical in farming practices. The good news is that there are viable alternatives.
Thank you to the County and County Council for taking public concern seriously, acting promptly and pursuing further investigation into the matter.