Is Your Family Swimming in Pesticides in HOA Outdoor Pools? - Moms Across America

Is Your Family Swimming in Pesticides in HOA Outdoor Pools?

When a family member was recently diagnosed with kidney disease, I wondered if the pesticides sprayed in her HOA might have contributed to the illness. When I got the HOA's landscaping records, as you will see in the letter below, I was shocked. I realized that the thousands of gallons of these toxic chemicals, mostly sprayed around the community amenity center where the outdoor pool is located, were likely drifting into the pool. My family member swam in that pool several times a week during warm weather, which in Florida, was often. I believe that outdoor pool water could be a significant source of exposure to toxic landscaping and pest management chemicals, contributing to chronic health issues.

By going through this process I have realized that people all across the nation could benefit if we could test pool water in multiple HOAs for the toxic pesticides that they are using to kill weeds and pests. We could convince the HOA managers and landscaper to switch to safer alternatives (we provide a list of many choices) and we could make a difference in hundreds or thousands of communities being healthier.

It is our fervent hope that you will read the below letter, use a version of it for your HOA ( after you get your HOA records), and partner with us to create healthy communities!

Dear Homeowner's Association Board,

Thank you for your assistance in this critical matter, the health and safety of your residents, staff, and landscaping workers.

I am writing this letter on behalf of my family members ( or yourself) who live in your HOA. When ( for example) a family member was diagnosed with Stage 3 Kidney disease a few months ago, naturally, I wanted to support their recovery. I was curious if there was anything in their environment that could be contributing to their condition, as they have been eating healthy, organic food for many years. Therefore, I requested the landscaper's spraying data, and I appreciate your response.

I was shocked to learn that over 5,405 gallons of pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides, as well as 5,036 pounds of fertilizers, have been sprayed over the past year in the Harrison Ranch community. I am not sure if you are aware of this, but many of these chemicals can cause or contribute to many health issues, including kidney disease. As listed by the manufacturer, EPA, or chemistry and science data websites (such as PubChem), they show that many side effects are; diarrhea, eyesight issues, kidney disease, and many others as listed below. These are side effects that have been reported by my family members and your residents.

I don’t fault you or your staff for believing that the EPA’s approval of these chemicals should be sufficient; I felt the same way for most of my life. In fact, I suggested that my father put Roundup IN our pond to kill weeds when I was a teenager! That's how safe I thought it was.

However, after discussing the issue with numerous scientists such as Dr. Don Huber Professor Emeritus at Perdue University (50 years plant pathologist), and lawyers (Michael Baum and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.) with decades of experience, what I found was alarming. The fact is that although the EPA has approved many pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides for landscaping use, their approval system is faulty and most of the chemicals used in landscaping are seriously harmful. The EPA approves chemical products with only short-term studies on one ingredient in the product, not the entire formulation, and does not include synergistic effects of spraying several products simultaneously. The approval of any chemical product based on only one ingredient is, of course, misleading and has landscapers subjecting residents to chemicals that have never been proven safe. The fact is that, as shown in the lawsuit Johnson vs. Monsanto (makers of Roundup, RangerPro) the EPA approval process has been corrupted by the lobbying of chemical corporations. The discovery process of this case (1 of 125,000) revealed decades of science showing harm from glyphosate herbicides that the EPA was aware of. Monsanto and the EPA concealed this information from the public. 

In fact, Bayer (who purchased Monsanto) just stated last week that they will be removing glyphosate-based herbicides (Roundup) from retail stores by 2023. This is due to the fact that the Judge ruled that there will be no 10 Billion dollar cap to their payouts for non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and plaintiffs who used Roundup can continue to sue them. To mitigate the lawsuits they are removing the product from the shelves. We ask, why wait two years to stop using glyphosate and other toxins in our community?

These chemicals have been shown to drift and get into homes, therefore it would make sense to be concerned about drift and the presence of these chemicals in the community swimming pool water. Testing shows that the chemicals, for example, Dicamba, can stay viable in water for 40 days, and the Thangprakaisang study showed glyphosate induced the growth of breast cancer cells in in-vitro at 1ppt (1 part per trillion is the equivalent of 1 drop in 22 Olympic sized swimming pools). In addition, very low levels, 4 ppb per kilogram of body weight, have been shown to cause liver and kidney damage and other health risks in peer-reviewed animal studies. Repeated and prolonged exposure, such as swimming in the pool a few times a week for several months, as my mother has done, could certainly be connected to her kidney disease. 

Of course, we cannot assume direct causation, and I certainly hope these chemicals are not causing these health issues, but I am sure you and your team care about the community’s health and prefer to use different methods as a precaution?

To support the health of my family members, and their friends and family, and all of the community, landscapers, including you and your staff,  I am submitting to you and your team data from the chemical manufacturers, scientists, researchers, landscaping experts, and toxicologists. I am also submitting a letter from my mother’s doctor and ten alternatives to Roundup and other toxic chemicals.

I hope this information will assist you in switching the landscaping chemical spraying to nontoxic methods as soon as possible. 

Below is a summary list of many of the chemicals being used at your HOA, from the landscaping records provided to me. Some pesticide brands were illegibly written on the records, and therefore, I could not determine the declared active chemical ingredient, so a few were omitted. 

I hope you will see that using cheap toxic chemicals is not worth the risk of harm to our residents and lawsuits from those affected.

Chemical in order of highest use

Summary of Side effects

Glyphosate

Carcinogenic, endocrine-disrupting, causes liver disease at low levels, kidney disease, and neurotoxicity

Latex and silicone

Allergic reactions: hives, itching, stuffy or runny nose. Can cause asthma symptoms of wheezing, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing.

Clothianidin

Abdominal pain, dizziness, headaches, skin and eye irritation, hypotension, heart irregularities, respiratory failure, coma, and death.

Pyraflufen ethyl

Causes irreversible eye damage

Dicamba

Increased risk of numerous cancers, liver and kidney disease, intrahepatic bile duct cancer, lymphocytic leukemia, multiple myeloma cancer

Halosulfuron-methyl

May damage fertility or unborn child.

Dimethylamine salt of 2, 4 Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid ( 2,4-D)

Endocrine-disrupting, possibly carcinogenic, contribute to thyroid disorders.

Diquat Dibromide 32

May cause damage to the liver, kidney, lungs, cataracts, cracked nails and skin, nosebleeds, tremors, convulsions, diarrhea, vomiting, death

Sulfentrazone

Causes damage to organs with prolonged or repeated exposures.

Metsulfuron-methyl

Very toxic to wildlife with long-term effects.

Bifenthrin

Oxidative stress, neurotoxicity, seizures, paralysis, and death.

Fluazifop-p-butyl

Diminishes kidney and hepatic functions,testicular damage, oxidative stress trigger.

Zeta-Cypermethrin

Neurotoxic and gastrointestinal effects in humans through inhalation, oral, or skin contact.

Abamectin

Vomiting, tremors, seizures, confusion, coma, partial ptosis ( drooping of the eyelid), weakness, and fertility failure in males.

Acetochlor

May cause cancer.

Clopyralid

Causes serious eye damage.

Myclobutanil

Highly toxic: eye and organ damage, harmful to the unborn child, long-lasting effects to aquatic life.

Penoxsulam

Kidney damage.

Prodiamine

Liver and kidney damage, possibly carcinogenic.

Triadimefon

Thyroid, heart, liver, and kidney disease, birth defects, reproductive damage, miscarriage.

Trifluralin

Carcinogenic.

Aminopyralid

Causes serious eye damage, very toxic to aquatic life with long-lasting effects.

Bentazon

Slightly acutely toxic by all exposures, causes skin sensitivity and developmental toxicity in rats.

Copper Hydroxide

Causes skin, eye, and respiratory tract irritation.

Fumetsulam

Acutely toxic via inhalation, also acutely toxic to aquatic life with long-lasting effects.

Imidacloprid

Vomiting, headaches, abdominal pain, diarrhea.

Mefenoxam

Eye irritant increased liver weight.

Mesotrione 480SC

Reduced white blood cell count, increased liver and kidney weight, eye cataracts keratitis.

Trifloxystrobin

Damage to organs through repeated or prolonged exposure.

More details can be found on this spreadsheet.

Please remember that each pesticide product manufacturer only has to list ONE declared chemical ingredient per product. Therefore, there are definitely many other chemicals that are not listed in this document. These chemicals are likely in the community and the pool and could be toxic. This assertion comes from the scientific studies on Roundup (glyphosate-based) that showed that the co formulations ( other unlisted ingredients) were 1000X more toxic than glyphosate alone. This is highly concerning.

The good news is that there are many safe alternatives now. 

Hundreds of HOA, school districts, towns, and even cities such as the City of Miami have discontinued the use of many toxic chemicals used at Harrison Ranch, such as glyphosate. We are asking that Harrison Ranch discontinue the use of all toxic chemicals and use safe methods instead. Over 100,000 people, many concerned HOA residents, have downloaded this document called Ten Alternatives to Roundup, which my organization, Moms Across America created in conjunction with the Baum Hedlund Aristei and Goldman law firm. HOAs find that when they switch to safer methods, the community real estate value goes up, residents are happier and have a better opportunity to get healthier. 

A very effective herbicide (new to the US market)  that has been shown to be nontoxic is the Contact Organics Weed Terminator weed killer. This formulation actually improves the quality of the soil and is effective and safe. The managing director of the US distribution is Howard Vlieger, and he is happy to assist you. Email Howard at [email protected].

If the management questions or requires further reasons for switching the chemicals used to nontoxic methods or sprays, I am happy to gather more data, such as a survey of the resident’s health issues, support testing of their urine for toxins, or testing of the pool water, soil or indoor home dust for pesticides. These methods have been very useful in collecting data at other HOAs and supporting the resident’s well-being.

Residents suggested that I ask that you please test the pool water for the pesticides being used on the property as listed above. HRI Labs can test for 10 out of 30 chemicals listed, and I am researching to find another lab that can test for more. Another family member asks that if you continue to spray, that you please consistently, perhaps weekly, test for chemical presence in the pool water to ensure safety. They all prefer that you immediately switch to safer, alternative methods and let the residents know that the association has made these changes.

Thank you for your time and care for the community!

Sincerely,

Zen Honeycutt  

To our supporters: We are looking for people who live in an HOA, anywhere in the USA, and you know they spray toxic chemicals. You will have to (or have) asked for their landscaping records for the past year. If you are willing to request and get those records, and to get a sample of the pool water, and to pay for shipping to send it to a lab, we are actively fundraising to get that water tested. Please get a sample now and contact us at [email protected] Please use the subject line "Pool Testing Results" when you have a sample ready. Thank you!


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  • Zen L Honeycutt
    published this page in Blog 2021-08-30 06:27:13 -0700

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