Urge Philadelphia City Council to STOP using toxic herbicides on public land

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A Public Health Crisis: Philadelphia regularly uses 18 different toxic herbicides on public lands, including glyphosate, a proven carcinogen, and 2,4-D, a major ingredient in the infamous herbicide used during the Vietnam War, Agent Orange.

Environmental Justice: Philadelphia is one of the biggest and poorest cities in the country with one of the  biggest park systems.  Our parks and school yards are backyards and playgrounds for our residents. This places great urgency on our city to ensure public health and safety by eliminating the use of toxic herbicides on our public land. 

Now more than ever, it’s important to have safe parks.  Unprecedented numbers of people, of all ages, are seeking exercise, recreation, and access to natural beauty in our parks as we shelter in place to avoid spreading the Covid-19 virus.  It is imperative that parks be free of toxins that can cause disease and compromise our immune systems.  This means no harmful, synthetic pesticides should be applied at this time.

New Information: Every week new information is added to the already significant evidence that exposure to herbicides is linked to asthma, cancer, developmental and learning disabilities, nerve and immune system damage, liver and kidney damage, reproductive impairment, birth defects, and disruption of the endocrine system.

Children, infants, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems and chemical sensitivities are especially vulnerable. Children absorb and inhale herbicides than adults relative to body weight and are less able to detoxify these chemicals.  Evidence supporting their significant increased risk of almost everything from asthma to leukemia is overwhelming and too copious to list here.  

Protect city employees and contractors: Workers using herbicides have extremely high exposure and thus severe risks to their health. No city employees or sub-contractor should be exposed to carcinogens and other toxic herbicides in the course of their job.

Pets and Wildlife: Herbicides are also harmful to pets, wildlife, soil microbiology, plants, and natural ecosystems, including honeybees and other pollinators. 

Even the EPA acknowledges pesticide risk: “By their very nature, most pesticides create some risk of harm to humans, animals, and the environment because they are designed to kill or otherwise adversely affect living organisms.”                 Source: Environmental Protection Agency

Hidden Public Health Costs: Research has proven the toxic effects of herbicides are far-reaching.  Though we're lead to believe they are cost-effective and harmless, public health impacts of their continued and widespread use are very costly. 

It's time for Philly to join the Toxic-Free Movement with over 104 U.S. Cities and 28 countries worldwide to restrict herbicide use.

Safe alternatives exist

Alternatives to synthetic herbicides have been shown to be safe, successful, and cost-effective for managing public land. Toxic Free Philly and our national allies are prepared to assist the city with best practice case studies and connections to experienced experts and other resources. There's no sound reason for Philadelphia to continue using toxic pesticides on city land.  

Toxic Free Philly is a growing coalition of concerned constituents.  We are doctors, cancer survivors, parents, youth, public health experts, park advocates, ecologists, foragers and experienced land managers. For more information, visit www.toxicfreephilly.org

Thank you!