CPRD's use of herbicide sparks concern
An announcement by the Chehalem Park and Recreation District that it was using the herbicide glyphosate at one of its parks drew ire from local residents, who called on CPRD to use alternative methods to get rid of invasive species. Scientific studies have shown the herbicide to be a cancer-causing chemical that poses a danger to wildlife and people.
CPRD officials said they used a "minimal amount" of glyphosate — a key ingredient in the weed killer Roundup — as a last resort to target invasive poison oak, Himalayan blackberries and the vegetation just beneath the disc golf baskets at Ewing Young Park. Those are all approved uses for glyphosate, CPRD public information director Kat Ricker said, and she noted that CPRD has an integrated pest management (IPM) approach in its maintenance practices, including mechanical, biological and chemical techniques.
"Chemical treatments are a last resort, and we reserve them for only rare use," Ricker said. "We have a state-licensed Public Pesticide Applicator on staff, and any herbicide application is done carefully by hand, plant by plant. Safety is paramount. We only use products that are approved for parks, recreational and residential areas. With herbicides, the instructions on the product labels literally represent the law, and staff complies to appropriate regulations."
Facebook users' reactions to the use of glyphosate was intensely negative, with many residents asking for the district to use other methods for removal. The producers of the weed killer Roundup recently settled a multibillion-dollar lawsuit for the cancer-causing properties in the spray, and residents expressed their worry about the potential for killing bugs and animals in the area as well.
"Have you even read the label on that stuff?" one Facebook user wrote. "Do you not realize it causes endocrine disease and lymphoma? Do you realize that most other developed countries ban this stuff for good reason? Are you trying to kill off fish, wildlife and people, besides weeds?"
CPRD responded to the comment with the following: "Thank you. We value the feedback."
Ricker said the district is adhering to appropriate regulations and following the instructions on the weed killer's label, taking care to avoid areas where potential runoff could reach the water, kill native plants, bugs and animals or harm people in the neighboring area.
"In the case of glyphosate, by reading the label information, a person can see what measures we are implementing," Ricker said. "For example, not to apply directly to water or intertidal areas below the mean high water mark, to guard against contamination of water when cleaning equipment, and to only spray directly to the targeted plant, and only to the point of wetting it and not beyond, which would produce excess runoff.
"The EPA regulations that we are observing are included in information on how the product works. For instance, the product is a 'postemergence, systemic herbicide with no soil residual activity' which 'inhibits an enzyme found only in plants and microorganisms that is essential to the formation of specific' proteins."
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.