Miami, Florida, city commissioners have banned the use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in the widely used weed killer Roundup, in an effort to improve water quality and protect public health.
“Water quality issues are so important to the city of Miami, and we can be one of the worst polluters as a municipality,” said Commissioner Ken Russell, who sponsored the resolution. “We ask for residents to make a change in their habits and that they be conscious of what they put in their gardens, but when I realized the totality of what the city uses at any given time, we had to change our habits.”
Russell learned that the city’s public works department had been spraying about 4,800 gallons of glyphosate-containing products on streets and sidewalks around town to kill weeds. Newly hired director of the department, Alan Dodd, recently stopped using the chemical. Russell wanted the city to adopt a resolution to extend the ban to other departments, including parks and recreation.
“Banning the use of glyphosate is a great first step in improving water quality,” he said. “It is also beneficial to public health, as citizens of the city of Miami won’t be exposed to harmful chemicals.” Russell is concerned that the city’s storm water outfalls may ultimately pollute the Biscayne Bay.
Glyphosate is manufactured by Bayer AG unit Monsanto. It is classified by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer as a probable carcinogen.
Last August, a California jury awarded a school groundskeeper who had been exposed to Monsanto’s glyphosate-containing herbicides for years, $285 million in damages after finding the weed killer contributed to his non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Russell said he started looking into the dangers posed by the city’s use of glyphosate-containing products after Miami was hit in recent years with blue-green algae blooms, red tide, and fecal contamination, which poses risks to human health as well as the environment.
Source: Miami New Times