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Bernadette Giblin: Call on Northampton to find alternatives to herbicide use

To the editor:

Is there another safe, effective and economical way to remove the weeds growing on Florence Fields besides spraying the herbicide Roundup?

Yes, of course. In September 2003, the Danish government banned its use when testing found it was contaminating the water.

Before you go thinking that legislation eliminating the use of pesticides is something that only happens in progressive European countries, think again. In Canada, legislation bans its use on municipal and residential grounds. Parks, schools, hospitals and all residential property are pesticide-free. The serious health implications of pesticides are real and are described by the national nonprofit research group Beyond Pesticides: “Of the 30 most commonly used lawn pesticides, 19 can cause cancer, 13 are linked to birth defects, 21 affect reproduction and 15 are nervous system toxicants. The most popular and widely used lawn chemical, 2,4-D, which kills broad-leaf weeds, is an endocrine disruptor with predicted human health hazards ranging from changes in estrogen and testosterone levels, thyroid problems, prostate cancer and reproductive abnormalities.”

New York and Connecticut have banned lawn chemicals on school grounds. In Maryland, you’ll find the community of Tacoma Park, which has not only banned use on public lands, but on private properties. Communities in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Delaware, North Carolina, California, Oregon, Colorado, Washington and New Mexico have ordinances in place.

These communities are saving money by reducing costs through less irrigation and the use of organic liquid products. I went before the Northampton Board of Health and requested that it enact local organic management policy.

Please join me in supporting this environmentally and economically efficient initiative. Help by contacting local officials.

Bernadette Giblin


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