On February 24, 2014, the City Council of Richmond, California unanimously voted to enact a 12-month ban on all toxic pesticides including glyphosate. The Intergraded Pest Management Ordinance (IMP) stated, “pesticides shall only be used as last resort, following other feasible IMP efforts including cultural, mechanical, and biological methods. When it is deemed necessary to use pesticides, the least-toxic pesticides shall be used.” Glyphosate, a patented ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, has been found to cause serious health conditions in humans and animal, including birth defects, cancer, and deformities. Monsanto continues to advertise glyphosate as safe for humans and animals, but scientific evidence shows that humans in fact do possess the enzymes that glyphosate targets, in our gastrointestinal bacteria, and that glyphosate also affects other enzymatic pathways.
A 2011 report entitled “Round Up and Birth Defects”, authored by experts in molecular genetics, agro-ecologic, taxico-pathology, scientific ethics, ecological agriculture, plant genetics, public health, and cell biology, led to the banning of Roundup and glyphosate until a thorough scientific evaluation was undertaken.
Intensive glyphosate spraying for soy productions occurs in South and Central America, affecting local peoples. For example, in Chacro, Argentina, one of the country’s poorest provinces, the rate of birth defects quadrupled in the decade after intensive herbicide use began. Chaco Perrand Hospital found rates of birth defects rising from 19.1 to 85.3 per 10,000 after intensive use of glyphosate was introduced. Some of the health conditions included babies being born six fingers, without jawbones, or with kidney deformities.
The hopes are that cities like Richmond, California will ban these herbicides to spread the health awareness on having pesticide-free cities, and that local residents will consider safer alternatives to weed control. As of February 24, 2014 there has been no corporate media coverage of Richmond, California banning Roundup.
Source: Jeff Ritterman, “Will Richmond Reject Monsanto’s Roundup? The case for banning glyphosate,” Truthout, February 23, 2015, http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/29244-will-richmond-reject-roundup-the-case-for-banning-glyphosate.
Student Researchers: Julie Lindner and Caitlin McCoy (College of Marin)
Faculty Evaluator: Susan Rahman (College of Marin)