(Beyond Pesticides, May 12, 2010) Disturbed to learn that an advisory committee in his community in Boulder, Colorado had approved two new herbicides for use on city parks, a 9-year-old environmental activist organized a group of some two dozen children to protest the potential use of the herbicides in front of the Boulder County Courthouse last Friday.
Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez is a third grader who loves playing kickball and baseball in Boulder city parks. But then he heard that the advisory committee had approved two new herbicides for use on city parks. “I didn’t think it was right,” he said. “The children of this generation should be able to grow up without worrying about the air they’re breathing or the grass they’re playing on.” The Integrated Pest Management Subcommittee – made up of representatives of three city boards – recommended that Boulder add the herbicides, Tenacity and Barricade, to the list of allowed turf treatments. Xiuhtezcatl organized a group of some two dozen children to protest the potential use of the herbicides. They gathered Friday in front of the Boulder County Courthouse on the Pearl Street Mall waving hand-lettered signs that read “Let us play in clean parks,” “We love dandelions” and “Babies crawl in parks. No Spray!”
Myra Noble, 11, said many parks are next to streams and rivers and spraying herbicides there allows them to enter the water supply. “How would you feel if you were in Mother Nature’s shoes?” she asked a small crowd of supporters. “How would you like to have critters on your face, digging holes in you and putting chemicals in you and you couldn’t do anything to shake them off?” Sabrina Evans, also 11, said, “You know that big oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico? Maybe you’ve heard of it?,” she said. “As many people are trying to stop that, that’s how many people I want trying to stop these chemicals on our parks.”
Both Tenacity and Barricade are used to prevent broad-leaf weeds in grass and carry warning labels about potential dangers to people and animals. The warning label on Tenacity says that expectant mothers, infants and children “should not come into contact with or have any exposure to Tenacity.”The active ingredient in Tenacity is mesotrione, which may give rise to ocular, liver and kidney effects and there is concern, according to the U.S. Environmental protection Agency (EPA) factsheet, about its effects on the developing nervous system in children. Barricade, whose active ingredient is prodiamine is a group C -possible human carcinogen, and a suspected endocrine disruptor.
Many communities across the country have taken a stand against the use of toxic pesticides on their lawns and landscapes. Most recently, the state of New York passed the Child Safe Playing Fields Act (A 7937-C) that would prohibit the use of toxic pesticides on school and daycare center playgrounds, turf, athletic and playing fields. In New Jersey, over 30 communities have made their parks pesticide-free zones and have adopted an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program for managing town property by passing a resolution adopting a pesticide reduction policy. Connecticut and Illinois have also moved forward to reduce children’s exposures to lawn pesticides.
Children are especially sensitive and vulnerable to pesticides because of their rapid development and behavior patterns. Many scientific studies indicate that pesticides threaten the public’s health by increasing the risk of cancer, learning disabilities, asthma, birth defects, and reproductive problems. These chemicals can also poison animals, pollute local streams and rivers and seep through the ground into underground aquifers. Of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides, 19 are linked with cancer or carcinogenicity, 13 are linked with birth defects, 21 with reproductive effects, 26 with liver or kidney damage, 15 with neurotoxicity, and 11 with disruption of the endocrine (hormonal) system. Of those same 30 lawn pesticides, 17 are detected in groundwater, 23 have the ability to leach into drinking water sources, 24 are toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms vital to our ecosystem, 11 are toxic to bees, and 16 are toxic to birds.
Visit Beyond Pesticides’ Lawn Care Program webpages for more information on toxic herbicides and what you can do to keep you and your pesticide-free.
Source: Daily Camera