Tell HB leadership to stop using toxic pesticides in our parks
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[UPDATE: On May 1, HB City Council directed staff to test non-toxic methods in Central Park West and report back to Council with results and recommendations on August 7. Please sign the petition to show Council that you support expanding the program and making it permanent.]
Did you know that Huntington Beach's parks, athletic fields, sidewalks, trails and greenbelts are frequently sprayed with toxic chemicals? Toxic pesticides and herbicides have been shown to lower IQ, cause cancer, damage developing reproductive organs, and cause other significant harm.
In March 2016, the World Health Organization declared that glyphosate, the active ingredient in RoundUp, probably causes cancer in humans. Despite this grave warning, the City of Huntington Beach and HOA landscaping companies continue to spray RoundUp in the places where our children play sports such as soccer and baseball, roll in the grass, and do all the other things kids like to do.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that there is no safe level of pesticide or herbicide exposure for children. They 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.
Why are our children being subjected to these risks? For cosmetic landscaping purposes -- namely, to kill weeds. Dandelions do not pose a risk to children, but 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid does. 2,4-D is one of the key ingredients in Agent Orange, and is another one of many pesticides frequently used for cosmetic landscaping in Huntington Beach. This includes the sports fields, parks, and common areas where children play. This harmful toxic response is disproportionate to the cosmetic problem.
You and your family can still be affected even if the chemicals are not sprayed on your street. Pesticides have been shown to drift for miles and can persist in indoor carpet fibers for a year after they are tracked inside. The U.S. Geological Survey found that, “After they are applied, many pesticides volatilize into the lower atmosphere, a process that can continue for days, weeks, or months after the application, depending on the compound. In addition, pesticides can become airborne attached to wind-blown dust.”
In clay soils like ours, the half-life of glyphosate can be as long as 22 years.
Also alarming, the interactions between the many chemicals being sprayed near our homes and in our parks are unknown. According to David Bellinger, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, “Impacts from multiple chemicals may simply add up, amplify one another's effects.”
By allowing children to be exposed to chemicals of unknown toxicity, we are unwittingly using our children in a massive experiment. The place to start is with easily substituted chemicals that have only cosmetic value, like weedkillers in our parks.
This issue affects every person and pet in Huntington Beach. We are asking the City Council, School Boards, and HOA landscaping company leaders to immediately stop the use of all toxic pesticides and herbicides, and to switch to proven organic methods that are cost comparable and require 30% less water.
This has already been accomplished in Irvine with great success. And San Juan Capistrano's council voted unanimously in April 2017 to follow Irvine's proven example.
Harvard University also 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 Huntington Beach join in this endeavor.
City staff will report to the Council ever three months on the progress of its non-toxic pilot program in Central Park West. They need to hear from all of us that we are no less concerned about our health and safety than the people of Irvine and San Juan Capistrano.
Please sign this petition to tell our city's leaders that you want them to stop using toxic pesticides at our parks, schools, and public spaces, and to implement only organic practices.
For more information, please visit our website – NonToxicHB.HBTomorrow.org.
Tim, Andi, Ashley, Karen, Rob, Mary Jo, Linda, Randy, and the rest of us
P.S. Please watch this video, Little Things Matter, to learn how toxins damage the developing brain.
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