Preparations are underway for helicopter spraying of the plant poison RoundUp around Port Kembla, just days after a Melbourne man launched Australia's first lawsuit seeking to blame the weedkiller for his cancer.
Some residents are concerned that just as some countries are reconsidering whether the herbicide - true name glyphosate - is safe, in Port Kembla it will be sprayed from the sky above them.
Residents were informed recently that the Illawarra District Weeds Authority would be spraying from helicopters in late June.
It's part of annual spraying to combat the pest Bitou bush. About 90ha would be sprayed around Hill 60 and Perkins Beach at Port Kembla. Another 40ha would be sprayed at Bass Point in Shellharbour and another 8ha on private land at Gerringong.
While Port Kembla will receive glyphosate spraying, the Mercury has been told a different product, Brush-Off, will be used at Coniston Beach. This has not been confirmed. In previous years Bass Point has received RoundUp from the air.
Diana Matic was one resident who saw the notice from IDWA about Port Kembla.
"I actually thought this was a joke," Ms Matic said.
"You have countries like France and Vietnam which are banning it.
"But here, it's actually going to go on people's houses. And people have pets, they have babies. There's people who walk along the beach straight afterwards.
"There's got to be another way."
IDWA chief weeds officer David Pomery said some areas were not accessible without aerial spraying.
"Alternate methods are being utilised where appropriate but in the meantime the IDWA must consider utilising aerial spraying in some situations to ensure effective management of this weed across the coastal landscape," he said.
This week Melbourne gardener Michael Ogliarolo, 54, launched legal action alleging RoundUp caused his cancer - non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
Three glyphosate court cases in the US have come down in favour of plaintiffs with cancer. In the latest, a court in Oakland, California, awarded a couple $2.8 billion.
In 2015 the UN World Health Organisation's cancer agency reviewed the studies so far and concluded glyphosate probably caused cancer.
But while the Australian Regulator, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), considered the WHO report "valuable input", it decided glyphosate was still "safe to use according to label directions".
The Cancer Council has called for an independent review of glyphosate.
IDWA said: "On the day of spraying IDWA employees will ensure that all access roads and walkways are closed with restricted public access to spray zones".
Wollongong City Council uses RoundUp for weed removal, as do many public schools.
The Illawarra District Weeds Authority is run by the Illawarra Shoalhaven Joint Organisation, an arrangement between the cities' councils.
An earlier version of this story said Coniston Beach would receive RoundUp. This has not been confirmed.
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