City of Costa Mesa-Stop Spraying our Parks and Public Spaces with Toxic Pesticides!

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Did you know that Costa Mesa’s parks, athletic fields, sidewalks, medians, trails and greenbelts are frequently sprayed with toxic pesticides?  Independent peer-reviewed science has shown pesticides to lower IQ, cause cancer, damage developing reproductive organs and cause other significant harm.

While the City of Costa Mesa has reduced the use of pesticides over the past couple of years and have substituted certified organic pesticides in some cases, they continue to apply these pesticides on areas where our children play sports, play on the grass, and where families and pets take walks. All these product’s labels have a warning label of CAUTION or DANGER.   Roundup (glyphosate); Speedzone (2,4-D); Trimec (2,4-D); Spectacle Flo (Indaziflam); Dismiss (Sulfentrazone); Atrimmec (Dikegulac-sodium); Drive XLR8 (dimethylamine salt of quinclorac); Fusilade II (Fluazifop-P-butyl); Dimension Ultra (dithiopyr); Liberate (Lecithin); Sureguard (Flumioxazin); Reward (Diquat dibromide); Fiesta (Iron HEDTA); and Fumitoxin (Aluminum Phosphide).

The World Health Organization declared that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup is a probable human carcinogen.  The State of California has recently added glyphosate to the Proposition 65 list to cause cancer, forcing Monsanto (Roundup’s manufacturer) to add a Cancer Warning label. Despite this grave warning, the City of Costa Mesa continues the use of Roundup on city property, like Fairview paths where residents enjoy walking with their children and pets. By setting aside public health considerations, is Costa Mesa prepared for potential financial and legal liabilities related to a known carcinogen being applied on city maintained property exposing the most at risk population, particularly when this is done for pure cosmetic reasons?

However, this issue is bigger than just Roundup.  A common used pesticide on the grass in Costa Mesa’s parks is Speedzone, active ingredient 2,4-D.  2,4-D was one of two key ingredients in Agent Orange and is linked to a wide range of chronic health problems.  Do we want this toxic chemical on our public parks where we have picnics and our young children and pets crawl and play? 

Roundup and Speedzone are not the only two pesticides applied on city property.  The interactions between the many chemicals being sprayed near our homes and in our parks are unknown. It’s alarming our government agencies designed to protect us do not require any research on the effects of combining pesticides.  According to David Bellinger, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, “Impacts from multiple chemicals may simply add up, amplify one another's effects.” 

Children are developing rapidly and this coupled with their natural behaviors (ie: crawling around on the grass and hand to mouth action) puts them at higher risk for pesticide exposure. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that there is no safe level of pesticide exposure for children. Pesticides are toxic chemicals - poisons created to kill. They are dangerous for all living things, including adults and pregnant women, and are particularly dangerous for a child’s developing organ systems. 

Pets are also at a higher risk for pesticide exposure as they have similar natural behaviors as children, playing and rolling on the grass and licking their paws.

Thankfully, there is a solution.  For over a year, Newport-Mesa Unified School District has discontinued the use of non-organic pesticides for weed abatement.  Weed whacking for fence lines and hand pulling in planter beds and concrete cracks has replaced the use of Roundup.  In areas where mechanical methods are not possible, a certified organic pesticide is used.  No increases in costs or labor have been reported.  We continue to work with N-MUSD to change policy.

Many other cities, including the City of Irvine with the support of Non Toxic Irvine, have successfully switched to non-toxic landscaping alternatives. The City of Irvine has only used organic landscaping methods for over a year now. 

Because of the success of Irvine’s Progressive Pest Management Program, the City of San Juan Capistrano followed Irvine’s lead on April 18 by being the second Orange County city to successfully pass an organic land management ordinance.  Costa Mesa is worthy of the same protection from pesticides.

We want to thank the City of Costa Mesa’s Public Services Director, Raja Sethuraman, as well as staff members Robert Ryan and Bruce Lindemann, for meeting with us on March 30 to hear our concerns and talk about solutions.  Non Toxic Irvine was there to share the successes of the City of Irvine.

Mayor Katrina Foley has agreed to meet with us on May 19 to further discuss this issue.

This issue affects every person and pet in Costa Mesa. We are asking Costa Mesa’s City Council to stop the use of non-organic pesticides and follow the City of Irvine and San Juan Capistrano’s lead by switching to proven organic methods that are cost comparable and require 30% less water.

Harvard University has successfully switched to a non-toxic landscaping alternative. Cities across the U.S. are banning the use of toxic pesticides, and we would like to see Costa Mesa join in this endeavor.

Please sign this petition to tell the Costa Mesa City Council that you want them to stop using toxic pesticides at our parks, schools and public spaces and implement only organic practices.  The solutions are there, it’s time to follow suit.

We look forward to a continuing relationship with Newport-Mesa Unified School District the City of Costa of Costa Mesa to protect the health of our residents, children, pets and environment.

For more information, please visit our website –

Thank you,

Non-Toxic Costa Mesa

Vanessa, Luka, Melissa, Christy and the rest of Non Toxic Costa Mesa supporters

“Weeds won’t kill us, but pesticides might.”-Debbie Friedman