(Beyond Pesticides, June 11, 2018) With news that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows Roundup and its active ingredient glyphosate to be used despite evidence that it causes developmental effects following low-dose exposure, it is crucial that citizens demand that local governments provide the protection that EPA refuses. A pilot study —the first stage of the Global Glyphosate Study by the Ramazzini Institute (Italy) released in May— found that doses of either glyphosate or Roundup considered “safe” by EPA produce genotoxicity, alterations in sexual development, and changes in the intestinal microbiome.
This study adds to the urgent need for action, given previous findings that Roundup is: (1) linked to cancer by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and its subsequent listing on California’s Prop 65 (“chemicals known to cause cancer”) list; (2) promoted by its manufacturer, Monsanto, on the basis of questionable research practices; and (3) challenged in a consensus statement by scientists and medical doctors.
Glyphosate is not the only pesticide to which we all, including children, are exposed in schools and parks, but it is widely used and portrayed as “safe.” In order to protect children, our local governments and school districts should adopt these policies:
- A precautionary approach to use of toxic chemicals –when in doubt, throw it out;
- Organic land management practices, which create healthy environments and playing fields by building healthy soils;
- Techniques not reliant on pesticides –such as using a steam machine or goats to manage weeds in difficult situations;
- Limiting chemical use to an allowed list of organic-compatible fertilizers and pest control materials (see Products Compatible with Organic Landscape Management); and
- An organic land management policy that protects children, families, and the local ecology.
If your community has not already acted to stop glyphosate use and adopt an organic land management policy, start the ball in motion in your town with the following letter to your local elected officials.