PROTECT OUR FAMILIES AND CITY WORKERS: STOP USING TOXIC GLYPHOSATE-BASED HERBICIDES

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Terry McGuire started this petition to Roanoke City Mayor and Council

TELL ROANOKE LEADERS: PROTECT OUR FAMILIES AND CITY WORKERS – STOP USING TOXIC GLYPHOSATE-BASED HERBICIDES 

Dear Mayor and City Council:

We write to ask that you prioritize the health and safety of our children and ban the use of glyphosate-based herbicides at our parks, playgrounds, and schools.

Glyphosate, frequently sold under the brand name Roundup weedkiller, is a highly toxic herbicide that has no place being used where our kids and families meet to play and recreate. 

- The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has warned that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Scientific studies have reported a “compelling link” between exposure to glyphosate and development of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. People with high exposures have an alarming 41% increased risk of developing this type of lymphoma. And there are numerous other concerns, with exposure to glyphosate linked to autism, Celiac disease, and male infertility

- Many of the so-called inert, or secondary, chemicals used in Roundup are believed to significantly amplify glyphosate’s toxicity, and may pose serious threats on their own. For example, polyethoxylated tallowamine (or POEA), was found to be more deadly to human embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells than the herbicide itself. More troublesome, manufacturers are not always required to disclose their full list of inert ingredients.

- Despite claims from the manufacturer that the product breaks down naturally in the soil, it has been found to be extremely bio-persistent. A report by the Public Interest Research Group found detectable levels of glyphosate in 19 out of 20 beer and wines they sampled, demonstrating the chemical’s ability to persist and move from soil to food to our bodies. 

- Pets are  vulnerable to many of the same harms as humans, and are frequently exposed at higher doses immediately after treatments because of their proximity and contact with the ground and treated areas. They also unwittingly track the poison into their owner’s homes on their feet and fur. 

- Glyphosate-based herbicides are also hazardous to the environment and are believed to contribute to declines in the populations of important pollinators like honeybees and indicator species like monarch butterflies

We ask our leaders to immediately set a time frame for banning glyphosate-based herbicides. We further ask that you establish a community-based process for receiving input on use of this and other toxic chemicals applied with city funds on our public properties, with a clearly stated goal to move Roanoke City towards adopting bans or restrictions on toxic chemicals wherever possible. In place, Roanoke should explore safer alternatives and practices, with a focus on non-chemical, organic weed and pest management plans. 

To better protect their communities, many cities and localities, in the U.S. and around the world, have instituted bans or restrictions on glyphosate-based herbicides. And just a couple months ago, Bayer, which recently purchased Roundup from Monsanto, agreed to pay up to $10.9 billion to settle thousands of claims against them. Notably, the agreement keeps open the possibility of future lawsuits, which leaves any commonsense person to ask, “What are they hiding and why should we risk it?” 

Thank you for considering our views, and for all your work making Roanoke a safe and healthy place to live, work and play for everyone. 

For more information and resources, check out Non-Toxic Neighborhoods and Non Toxic Communities, two organizations working to ensure safe and healthy environments for everyone. 

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