Protect Pittsburgh public schoolchildren and groundskeepers from carcinogens in Roundup

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Christine Brill
Christine Brill signed this petition

On August 14, 2019, a local Pittsburgh mother went to take her 3-year-old son to the playground at Pittsburgh Montessori on the corner of Graham and Friendship streets. Like many families in the neighborhood, the mother and son visit the public playground every day. The mother was shocked and upset to see posters around the school noting that the entire grounds of the school including the playground and organic garden (run by Grow Pittsburgh) had been sprayed with glyphosate--the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer, a chemical that has been banned or restricted in over 30 countries worldwide since the release of the 2015 International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) report that concluded glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen.”

The notice was intended to warn families and their pets to stay away from the grounds during the time they will be spraying ("will be applied... the following areas will be treated"). However, just as was the case last year, the notice was posted at the end of the day AFTER spraying had already occurred, perhaps to avoid pushback from Grow Pittsburgh and concerned families who were working to maintain an organic garden.

The mother turned around and told her son that they wouldn't be using the playground again for awhile.

Even apart from the gardens, children, as well as groundskeepers, are exposed to glyphosate when it is sprayed in the play spaces maintained by Pittsburgh Public Schools, and this chemical has been shown to increase the risk of cancer by 41%: 

Note in the CNN story above that it was a school groundskeeper diagnosed with terminal cancer who won a case against Monsanto because of continual exposure to the herbicide.

In addition, pesticide exposure during childhood is linked to many other serious health issues. A UNICEF discussion paper titled "Understanding the Impact of Pesticides on Children" reports: "Children are especially vulnerable to toxins due to their physiology, behavior and prenatal exposure, and the adverse effects can be manifested during all stages of their development. Chronic exposure has been linked to childhood cancers (leukemia, brain tumors); poor motor skills, delayed reflexes, poor memory and other neurodevelopmental issues; asthma, obesity and an increase in noncommunicable diseases; stillbirths, miscarriages, low birth weight and maternal death; and physical abnormalities."

To read more about countries where glyphosate is banned, why it has been banned, and how American city ordinances are just now beginning to follow the science, this article by the law firm Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman is extremely thorough and informative. 

"Despite the IARC report’s 2015 conclusion that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains that glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans. As such, glyphosate is not banned by the U.S. government; Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides are readily available for purchase throughout the country. However, the EPA is a captured agency, meaning it is dominated by the industry it presumably regulates. Internal company documents now public in the Monsanto Papers demonstrate that EPA prioritizes the interests of corporations like Monsanto or political groups over the interests of the public it is charged with protecting."

To stop Pittsburgh Public Schools from continuing to put families, schoolchildren and groundskeepers at risk from exposure to glyphosate, please sign this petition and share in support.