Montreal to ban herbicide used in Roundup

Containers of Roundup, left, a weed killer is seen on a shelf with other products for sale at a hardware store in Los Angeles on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017. A battle over the main ingredient in Roundup, the popular weed killer sprayed by farmers and home gardeners worldwide, is coming to a head in California, where officials want to be the first to label the chemical, glyphosate, with warnings that it could cause cancer. Chemical giant Monsanto has sued the nation's leading agricultural producer, saying state officials illegally based their decision for warning labels on an international health organization. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

The City of Montreal announced Thursday morning that it would ban the use of the agricultural herbicide glyphosate on the island.

"Our administration is taking a new and strong environmental action to protect the health of Montrealers," Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante wrote on Twitter after a news conference with councillor Laurence Lavigne Lalonde Thursday morning.

Lalonde spoke about some of the reasons for banning the product.

"There's a lot of people that are working in farms, that are working with those products, (and) we know that there are different effects on their health and we are really concerned about the biodiversity. We are concerned about the health of our soil," she said.

Glyphosate is used primarily in the retail product Roundup, and Plante's announcement follows a ban announced in Germany Wednesday and ones in Austria and Vietnam that are already in effect.

The city said it's banning the herbicide as a precautionary measure. 

Director of the Farm Management and Technology program at McGill University pushed back on the idea of banning the product. He told CTV News that, in a farming context, Roundup can be very effective for soil conservation specifically in reducing the amount of tillage that's necessary.

However, he did agree that Roundup can be harmful for residential use.

The city banned neonicotinoid pesiticdes in an effort to protect beens in 2015, and the bylaw will be ammended to add the glyphosate ban.

Quebecer Liliane Paquette sought permission to file a class-action lawsuit against Bayer and Monsanto, the company that makes the herbicide Roundup in April.

A farmer in Saskatchewan filed a similar suit that month.

According to court documents, Paquette was exposed to the herbicide between 1997 and 2005.

She was diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2005 and hasn't been able to work since.

The suit is seeking $10 million in damages. Paquette is is accusing the manufacturers of breaching their obligation by portraying it as a safe product.

Bayer bought Monsanto in 2018 for $63 billion. The two companies are currently embroiled in more than approximately 14,000 lawsuits worldwide.

In 2015, the World Health Organization listed the active ingredient in Roundup as a probable carcinogen, but this year Health Canada maintained its approval of the herbicide as being safe to use. It remains one of the most popular weed killers on Canadian farms.