Dear Orange County Ag Commissioner and City Council,
Thank you for your commitment and fine work in making our city one of the safest and most beautiful cities to live in in America. We love living here!
You may have recently learned that there is a common practice which has recently been acknowledged as unsafe by the federal EPA and ithas been happening in our city for decades. Just this week, and many times over the past few weeks, many Mission Viejo residents have eye witnessed the spraying of Roundup herbicide on our public areas: parks, schools, streets and sidewalks, without any barriers to “keep people and pets away until dried,” as directed on the label. This precaution may not seem necessary, as we have all been told for 20 years that this product is safe, however recent science repeatedly shows the contrary. In fact, the World Health Organization has deemed this chemical a probable carcinogen and nearly 700 lawsuits are currently pending against the manufacturer, Monsanto, for the link to non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. In fact the California EPA is planning on listing glyphosate as a probable carcinogen through and Prop 65. The people suing used Roundup around their homes or worked as pesticide applicators. The risk to workers and residents is not worth the cosmetic “benefit”.
The city may feel they are not responsible for any harm that could come to workers, that it would be the manufacturer’s responsibility, but it is the city which requires these worker to do their job and use these chemicals. It is also the city’s decision to allow OC Public Works to apply the herbicides without barricading off the area for 4 hours as the label describes. Children, pets and people walk directly into these areas moments after application, and come in contact with these chemicals. My own dog developed a mange like rash on her rear end and a day or two later I realized the area of grass where she sat at our local park had been sprayed with Roundup. That grassy area was brown and dry and the landscaper admitted to having sprayed Roundup. You can see photos on the following pages.
We are asking that our city discontinue the use of glyphosate based herbicides and toxic chemicals like 2,4-D and use organic alternatives or labor instead. Avenger, vinegar, boiling water or steam and incinerating tools are all available. Many Scouts and college students need community service projects. Community groups could also be formed to pull weeds. Bending over to pull weeds is still possible. Many cities in Connecticut, Oregon areas of San Francisco and most recently, Irvine have stopped spraying Roundup and 2,4-D completely. The fact is we would rather have a bit of grass growing up between the sidewalks than hear about another 8 year old child with cancer.
We simply must take precautions. 1 out of 2 males and 1 out of 3 females are expected to get cancer today in America according to the President’s Council on Cancer. We, as a city committed to safety, can no longer in good conscience contribute to these tragic statistics by spraying a probable carcinogen in our public areas. We ask you to chose to prioritize organic methods, be Glyphosate and 2,4-D free and use alternatives.
In the meantime of making this decision we ask that you follow the laws and immediately require all workers to use yellow caution tape and cones (not signs that pets and children cannot read) and block off the areas sprayed for 4 hours as is directed on the label. This means along roadsides, parks, sidewalks and parking lots. We also ask that you put an advisory in your bulletin that homeowners that use Roundup are also required to follow the label and block off the area they spray in front of their homes as directed as well. Taking this action will not only protect the city and fellow neighbors from potential lawsuits but it will protect the health of our people and pets.
The quickly growing group of “Non Toxic" Town, currently at 48 members who have gather over 490 signatures for our petition, have the County Ag form and will be reporting violations of this law to protect our citizens.
We know you want a safe and healthy city as much as we do. We urge you to consider that the concept that we “need” to spray any chemical at all is simply untrue. We have had civilizations with parks and sidewalks for hundreds of years without the use of toxic chemicals. Only in the past 20 years have people been convinced by clever marketing from the chemical companies that we need their products. We simply do not need them, and frankly we can no longer afford them. The cost to our society is too great. Please see the following photos and information to support this request and click on the links to see the scientific studies. Thank you
Zenand Todd Honeycutt
Information about Roundup/Glyphosate based herbicides
The key ingredient of Monsanto’s signature product Round Up, 18.9 billion pounds of glyphosate have been used globally since the product was first sold commercially in 1974.- Charles Benbroook
Link to Benbrook paper:
This paper shows that around 2/3 of the total volume of glyphosate applied since 1974 has been sprayed in just the last 10 years. This finding has important public health implications, given that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen linked to cancers of the lymphatic (blood) system.
According to the CA Dept of Pesticide Regulation, 254,000 pounds of herbicides are used yearly, on average in OC, with 65,000 pounds of those herbicides being glyphosate salts.
According to EPA studies, the glyphosate salts were not the form approved by the EPA. In fact the Glyphosate form which is a glycine is the only form which they have long term animal studies showing apparent “safety”, of which they based their decision to approve this chemical 20 years ago for public use. Their reapproval of the license for glyphosate, currently in process, has been delayed for 7 years, partially because 2 years ago we gave them a report showing glyphosate present in tap water, urine and breast milk. They are currently testing breast milk and reassessing this chemical for harm.
Scientific studies showing neurotoxicity, placental cell death, non Hodgkin’s lymphoma growth of breast cancer cells, destruction of gut bacteria and to be a neurotoxin*, from the exposure to glyphosate, can be found at http://www.momsacrossamerica.com/data
*1 out of 5 American suffer from mental illness, which can lead to acts of violence, and learning disabilities take up half of the US educational budget. Reducing the toxic burden to our citizens improves health, public safety and opportunities to all, leading to a happier city and nation.
Alternatives for City Councils, Homeowners and research on Glyphosate:
Ie: Organic citrus product called “Avenger” http://action.greens.org.nz/glyphosate
If you consider the cost increase of Avenger or increased labor, it would not be accurate to also consider the health costs to our citizens and city health care costs. How much have your health care costs risen in the past ten years, when 70% of all the glyphosate that has ever been sprayed has been used? The health issues connected to glyphosate are diabetes, Crohn’s. Colitis IBS, autoimmune issues like psoriasis, eczema, lupus and non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, autism and cancer. The risk of lawsuits impacting the city coffers is also a factor.
Most Roundup/ glyphosate based product labels read “Keep people and pets away until dried.”
Or the following:
Roundup product clearly states to keep sprayers away from area for 4 hours. If sprayers are meant to be kept away while they are wearing protective clothing, for 4 hours it would only make sense to keep citizens away who are not wearing protective clothing for at least the same amount of time, if not longer.
Glyphosate test results by the United States Geological Survey show levels of glyphosate in CA streams up to 7.5ppBillion and in Santa Ana river 6.6 ppBillion. It only takes .1 pp Trillion to stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells and .1pp Billion to destroy beneficial gut bacteria, leading to gut brain behavior issues. Tap water levels detected .086 ppb in my home and 8.7ppb in my son at the same time as sudden onset of autism symptoms due to gut dysbiosis. Studies show 30% of glyphosate stays in the body and can collect over time. When we removed glyphosate exposure, put Reverse Osmosis on our tap and restored his gut flora with beneficial bacteria, six weeks later his glyphosate levels were no longer detectable and his autism symptoms were gone and never came back.
56% of glyphosate used worldwide is used on GM crops, this means 54% of glyphosate used worldwide is used by city workers, schools, landscapers, and individuals. The chemicals do not biodegrade as claimed and seeps into river and waterways.
Studies show that glyphosate remains viable in dark salty water for 315 days and kills white shrimp at levels above 5.2 ppm. If a pregnant woman is exposed to glyphosate spraying by the city, we must ask ourselves, what is in the womb? Dark salty water. What is the size of a six week old fetus? It is the size of a shrimp. We must protect the most vulnerable, please. Our infertility rate is the highest in recorded history, 30% of young couples experience multiple losses. We can do better for our citizens.
Several photos follow of areas recently sprayed with Roundup/glyphosate based herbicides. Although some of these pictures are from other areas, they show the same practices happening here in Orange County :
Los Alisos Elementary School April 2016
“Dolphin Park” by Del Cerro Elementary April 2016 by sidewalk where my dog sat and then got a rash.
Picnic Tables at Bart Spendlove park in Mission Viejo also called “Dolphin Park” by Del Cerro
Impact on dog health
Dog that just rolled in freshly sprayed Roundup grass in Maui
Signs like this are simply not sufficient. They do not keep pets and children away who cannot read, or non english speakers cautioned and protected as the city is required to do.
We ask for you to immediately block areas off with caution tape and to take steps to discontinue the use of glyphosate based herbicides and toxic chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and rodenticides) and use organic alternatives instead.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter. Together we can support Mission Viejo to become safer, healthier and happier.
-Zen Honeycutt and concerned citizens of Orange County, CA
UPDATE: In August of 2018, school pesticide applicator Dwayne "Lee" Johnson, who is dying of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, was awarded 289.2 million dollars from Monsanto by a California Supreme Court jury. Monsanto was found guilty of acting with "malice and oppression," meaning they knew their glyphosate products could cause cancer and the company executives suppressed the information. As of September 2018, over 8,000 more Roundup users are filing lawsuits against Monsanto.