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Daily News Blog

18
Oct

Stopping the Use of Toxic Pesticides in State Parks and Transition to Organic Land Management 

(Beyond Pesticides, October 18, 2021) The most recent science on pesticides raises serious health and environmental effects associated with pesticide use for lawn and landscape management. While the data is often not assembled in one place, updated factsheets bring together the science on the 40 commonly used pesticides used for conventional landscape management. Governors have the authority to stop the use of these hazardous materials that are used on parks and playgrounds, either by executive order or through their work with their state legislature, and transition land management to organic practices.

Tell your governor to stop hazardous pesticide use on state lands and transition to organic land management.

The new factsheets document with scientific citations a wide range of diseases and ecological effects linked to pesticides. The underlying analysis supporting the adverse health and environmental effects identified in the factsheets are based on toxicity determinations in government reviews and university studies and databases.

What do the factsheets disclose? Of the 40 most commonly used lawn and landscape pesticides, in reference to adverse health effects…

  • 26 are possible and/or known carcinogens
  • 24 have the potential to disrupt the endocrine (hormonal) system
  • 29 are linked to reproductive effects and sexual dysfunction
  • 21 have been linked to birth defects
  • 24 are neurotoxic
  • 32 can cause kidney or liver damage
  • 33 are sensitizers and/or irritants

Regarding adverse environmental effects…

  • 21 are detected in groundwater
  • 24 have the ability to leach into drinking water sources
  • 39 are toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms vital to our ecosystem
  • 33 are toxic to bees
  • 18 are toxic to mammals
  • 28 are toxic to birds

In addition to the factsheets, Beyond Pesticides manages the Gateway on Pesticide Hazards and Safe Pest Management (Pesticide Gateway) and Pesticide-Induced Diseases Database to track the scientific literature and the federal and state regulatory process governing pesticides. Additionally, the organization manages a database, ManageSafe, to provide information on nontoxic methods for common pest management issues.

Tell your governor to stop hazardous pesticide use on state lands and transition to organic land management.

The factsheets distill a large amount of scientific data. For example, the main chemical ingredient in “Roundup® — glyphosate — is the world’s most widely used herbicide. The factsheet identifies glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen, based on findings from the World Health Organization’s (W.H.O.) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Additionally, research has linked glyphosate to high rates of kidney disease in farming communities and to shortened pregnancy in a cohort of women in the Midwest. Animal studies and bioassays link it to endocrine disruption, DNA damage, decreased sperm function, disruption of the gut microbiome, and fatty liver disease. Glyphosate is also linked to environmental damage. The EPA warns that glyphosate can injure or kill 93% of U.S. endangered species. It is a primary driver of the decimation of monarch butterfly populations because it destroys the milkweed plants their young depend on. Recent research has also shown that glyphosate can disrupt honey bee gut microbiomes, affect larval development, increase colony vulnerability to pathogen infestation, reduce productivity, and impair honeybee navigation, linking the herbicide to declines in bee populations.

Letter to Governor

I am writing to urge you to use your leadership to require the management of our state parks with organic land management practices. My concern about the management of public spaces that are frequented by children and families, those with health vulnerabilities, pets, and wildlife stems from the hazardous nature of the pesticides that are commonly used. These adverse health and environmental effects are displayed in two easy-to-use factsheets, 40 Commonly Used Lawn Pesticides, available at bp-dc.org/lawnfactsheets. With this information, we urge you to issue an executive order to stop the use of these hazardous chemicals and transition park land to organic land management.

The new factsheets document with scientific citations a wide range of diseases and ecological effects linked to pesticides. The underlying analysis supporting the adverse health and environmental effects identified in the factsheets are based on toxicity determinations in government reviews and university studies and databases.

What do the factsheets disclose? Of the 40 most commonly used lawn and landscape pesticides, in reference to adverse health effects, 26 are possible and/or known carcinogens, 24 have the potential to disrupt the endocrine (hormonal) system, 29 are linked to reproductive effects and sexual dysfunction, 21 have been linked to birth defects, 24 are neurotoxic, 32 can cause kidney or liver damage, and 33 are sensitizers and/or irritants. Regarding adverse environmental effects, 21 are detected in groundwater, 24 have the ability to leach into drinking water sources, 39 are toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms vital to our ecosystem, 33 are toxic to bees, 18 are toxic to mammals, and 28 are toxic to birds.

For more in-depth information on additional studies and regulatory information, please visit Beyond pesticides Gateway on Pesticide Hazards and Alternatives at bp-dc.org/gateway. And, the national organization, Beyond Pesticides, is offering to assist you and land managers of our state land to adopt organic land management practices. You can contact them at [email protected]

The factsheets distill a large amount of scientific data. For example, the main chemical ingredient in “Roundup® — glyphosate — is the world’s most widely used herbicide. The factsheet identifies glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen, based on findings from the World Health Organization’s (W.H.O.) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Additionally, research has linked glyphosate to high rates of kidney disease in farming communities and to shortened pregnancy in a cohort of women in the Midwest. Animal studies and bioassays link it to endocrine disruption, DNA damage, decreased sperm function, disruption of the gut microbiome, and fatty liver disease. Glyphosate is also linked to environmental damage. The EPA warns that glyphosate can injure or kill 93% of U.S. endangered species. It is a primary driver of the decimation of monarch butterfly populations because it destroys the milkweed plants their young depend on. Recent research has also shown that glyphosate can disrupt honey bee gut microbiomes, affect larval development, increase colony vulnerability to pathogen infestation, reduce productivity, and impair honeybee navigation, linking the herbicide to declines in bee populations.

Thank you for your attention to this critical public health and environmental issue. I look forward to your reply.

 

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