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Petition demands New Brunswick stop using herbicide glyphosate

Click to play video: 'Group protests gyphosate use a NB legislature'
Group protests gyphosate use a NB legislature
WATCH ABOVE: There was a protest outside the legislature Wednesday, to bring attention to New Brunswick’s continued use of the herbicide gyphosate. Global’s Jeremy Keefe reports – May 18, 2016

A protest group submitted a petition to two New Brunswick MLAs calling for the province to stop the use of the herbicide glyphosate.

The chemical is used to kill unwanted weeds. It was developed by Monsanto and brought to market in 1974 under the trade name Roundup.  However, in recent years strains of glyphosate-resistant weeds have become more common.

In March 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified the herbicide as “probably carcinogenic in humans.”

Several jurisdictions have stopped using glyphosate.

“If other countries are stopping the utilization of it why aren’t we doing that here in New Brunswick?” asked Charles Theriault, who was one of about 100 who attended the protest outside the New Brunswick legislature. “Quebec has quit, Nova Scotia is no longer paying for it, Maine is not using it as well. It’s only us.”

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“If it’s proven in other jurisdictions around the world then why are they even doubting it here?” Theriault said.

Natural Resources Minister Denis Landry says the government is already enforcing strict rules on spraying and until they hear otherwise they will continue to permit it in the province.

“We’re doing that with professionals that are used to spraying that stuff,” Landry said. “And I think we’re doing it as safe as we can.”

“Until public health tells us not utilize it we don’t have any reason not to,” Landry said.

The Department of Health says an independent study should be completed sometime this spring.

Green Party Leader David Coon doesn’t agree with the government’s refusal to do anything in the interim.

“In a normal situation there’s something called the precautionary approach which would say if there’s even doubt we should hit pause and take a break from this until we better understand it,” Coon said. “But they haven’t even done that.”

Coon and MLA Gilles LePage accepted the petition but organizers of the protest say their campaign remains ongoing.

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