By ERIKA MARTIN | Reporter
A motion to ban local parks from using Roundup, an herbicide accused of harming both humans and animals, will be heard by city officials next Monday Aug.1
Councilmember Mike Bonin introduced the motion on June 3 but it has taken weeks for it to reach the next stage—to be discussed at the council’s Arts, Parks and River Committee.
Bonin made his motion just one day after reports of Department of Recreation and Parks employees using the chemical in public parks in the Palisades raised public outcry.
It is widely used as a cut-price alternative to cutting grass and reducing fire-hazard weeds, but some fear it puts both park workers and visitors at risk.
Yet the science is uncertain.
A study released last year by the World Health Organization found glyphosate, the primary ingredient in Roundup, to be “probably carcinogenic to humans,” but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s official stance remains that the science “does not provide evidence to show that glyphosate causes cancer.”
Research has also linked the use of Roundup to bee colony collapses, monarch butterfly die-offs, Parkinson’s disease and increased autism rates.
Palisadian Barbara Edelman has been instrumental in putting the Roundup issue on city official’s radar.
She said she has taken to avoiding public parks due to health concerns.
“I have a little grandson who’s three months. We were going to take him to the Palisades Park but we didn’t,” she said.
“I think it’s so sad. We have 16,000 acres of parkland and they just blitz it with Roundup every one to three months.”
Rose Watson, public information director for the Department of Recreation and Parks, said the agency had been spraying Roundup in the Palisades twice a year on the bluffs below Via del las Olas and El Medio, as well as along both sides of lower Temescal Canyon Park, to eliminate weeds that could potentially cause brush fires.
Last month, she said the agency had halted use in response to communities concerns and working with the council to discover alternatives that can be used going forward. However, with the city’s official position in limbo and wildfires raging throughout the state, the parks department may use whatever method it deems most effective.
“Protecting the health and safety of people in the neighborhoods I represent is my top priority, and I share the concerns of neighbors who objected to the use of Roundup in areas around their neighborhood,” Bonin said.
“This legislation asks for the Department of Recreation and Parks to report to the council on the use of this dangerous chemical and to explore alternatives that better protect neighbors from harm.”
The Monsanto-produced chemical was banned as a “toxic” garden herbicide in The Netherlands last year, and politicians in France and Brazil are discussing it. In Ontario, Canada, its banned for “cosmetic” uses in gardens but it can be used against venomous insects.
At the same time removing such pesticides entirely from the food chain, especially for protecting crops, could, say champions, put worldwide food production at risk. So some countries are looking to phase out Roundup and similar herbicides slowly rather than ban it immediately.
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