The Langton Green Community Sports Association [LGCSA] had raised £165,000 for the renovation of the sports field next to the local primary school. Part of plans involved removing the weeds and bare earth and planting new grass seed.
But when parents of the primary school pupils found out that contractors would be laying down weed killer, fears were raised for the health of the children.
One parent with a child at Langton Green Primary School, who did not want to be named, called the Times to express her concerns.
She said: “The field sits next to the primary school. Roundup is a toxic chemical, so we have real concerns about them using it. It has been linked to cancer cases in America.
“They say the chemical is safe but how do we know? What they are doing is putting lives at risk.”
The company that makes Roundup, Germany-based Monsanto, had been involved in a high-profile court case in the US last year, when a gardener who had used the product for nearly three decades won damages from the company following a cancer diagnosis.
But Monsanto dispute the cause of the man’s cancer and insist the product is harmless to humans.
A spokesman for LGCSA said: “It caused a firestorm. It became a big misunderstanding as the parents thought there was some latent danger, when there isn’t.”
He added: “Whatever health concerns have been raised in America is from gardeners and professionals that have spent decades using it.”
He said the Head of Langton Green Primary School, Alex Cornelius, had to get involved to assuage the parents’ fear, and that finally the field was sprayed Friday evening, June 14, after the pupils had left school for the weekend.
Contractor, Agrifactors, based in Heathfield, who sprayed the field with Roundup Pro insist it is perfectly safe.
A spokesman said: “It is completely harmless. It is the most widely used herbicide in the industry.
“As soon as it touches the soil it dissipates. There is no toxicity and it has been used widely all over the place, including other areas of Tunbridge Wells.”