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From February 11, 2005

Oakland, CA Considers Reversing Pesticide Ban
(Beyond Pesticides, February 11, 2005)
The City of Oakland, which has had a ban on chemical pesticide use for several years, is considering a reversal of this ban in park areas for several types of plants. Environmentalists and public health advocates are asking the city to continue weeding with non-chemical methods to protect residents from the adverse health effects associated with pesticides.

Oakland’s city council has created two exemptions already. The first exemption was for median strips and the second for the creation of new ball fields, according to KPFA radio. The exemptions seem to be becoming a trend, in place of seeking viable and safer alternatives. This new request for exemption is coming from the Wildfire Prevention District Advisory Commission. They are requesting that the 10-year old policy be reversed in order to spray herbicides on fire-causing plants such as the eucalyptus tree, acacia, prunus, elm, blackberry and broom.

According to the Oakland Tribune, some money does currently go toward removing fire-causing brush with alternatives such as goats, machines and hand labor, but the commission wants to use the money for herbicides too.

Although the exemption to the ban would not be city-wide, increased use of herbicides still threatens the more vulnerable population, including those with sensitivities, and children and the elderly, and it could affect the water supply as well. "There is not a safe use of pesticide," said San Leandro resident Maxina Ventura of East Bay Pesticide Alert.

The proposed pesticides have been linked with such human health effects as non-Hodgkins lymphoma, endocrine disruption and reproductive effects.

TAKE ACTION: Help keep Oakland’s pesticide ban from weakening. Sign Stop Toxic Trespass’ online petition to ask the City Council of Oakland to not reintroduce spraying. Signing is quick and easy.