West Chester Area School District policy

The following WCASD policy on pests and weeds was circulated in August, 2019. Download the pdf here: Pesticide Ltr-Eng 8.2019. Compare “PA Public School Code sections on pesticide notification” on our site (note that the law defines “pesticide” to include “herbicide”). We support the IPM approach; for the sake of children, staff and the environment, we hope that every school in the system will conform scrupulously to it and that no spraying will be considered necessary. The unwelcome use of herbicides at one school is documented in the photo below from summer 2019.

The West Chester Area School District uses an integrated pest management (IPM) approach for managing insects, rodents and weeds. Our goal is to protect every student for pesticide exposure by using an IPM approach to pest management. Our IPM approach focuses on making the school building and grounds an unfavorable habitat for these pests by removing food and water sources and eliminating their hiding and breeding places. We accomplish this through routine cleaning and maintenance. We routinely monitor the school building and grounds to detect any pests that are present. The pest monitoring team consists of our building maintenance, office and teaching staffs and includes our students. Pest sightings are reported to our IPM coordinator who evaluates the pest problem and determines the appropriate pest management techniques to address the problem. The techniques can include increases sanitation, modifying storage practice, sealing entry points, physically removing the pests, etc.

From time to time it may be necessary to use chemicals to manage a pest problem. Chemicals will only be used when necessary and will not be routinely applied. When chemicals are used the school will try to use the least toxic products when possible. Applications will be made only when non-authorized persons do not have access to the area(s) being treated. Notices will be posted in the areas 72 hours prior to application and for two days following the applications.

Parents or guardians of students enrolled in the school may request prior notification of specific pesticide applications made at the school. To receive notification, you must be placed on the school’s notification registry. If you would like to be placed on the registry, please complete the online form on the district website, under Departments, Facilities & Operations, IPM Notification Request form. This request must be made annually. If you do not have internet access, please call the Facilities Receptionist at 484-266-1252, to request notification.

If a chemical application must be made to control an emergency pest problem, notice will be provided by email to any parent or guardian who has requested such notification. Exemptions to the notification include disinfectants and antimicrobial products; self-containerized baits placed in areas not accessible to students, and gel-type baits placed in cracks, crevices or voids.

Countries That Banned Glyphosate Weedkiller

By Michael Bennett, Weed Killer Crisis, November 8, 2018 [Needs updating: Ontario banned most uses of rounded several years ago, and Germany just banned it effective 2023]

Glyphosate is the most used herbicide or pesticide in the world, with hundreds of millions of pounds being used every year across the globe. While the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has determined that glyphosate is probably a cancer-causing agent in humans, the chemical remains in widespread use.

Still, several countries around the world have taken steps to limit glyphosate use or ban it altogether. The legal status of glyphosate and Roundup is ever-evolving, so check back frequently for updates to this page.

see the list at Weed Killer Crisis

Schools and parks in West Chester Borough

Don’t Spray Me! believes pesticides and herbicides should not be sprayed on any sort of educational institution or in parks where the public, including children, may go unawares shortly after spraying. The PA School Code requires notification of families and employees of public schools (but not all schools) before spraying occurs. Stay tuned for more!

The map below, by Paige Vermeulen, shows schools (from day cares to university) in yellow, parks in green, and a 300 foot buffer zone in orange. Why 300 feet? Because spray drifts, and Bayer says its product DeltaGard kills mosquitoes at 300 feet (see more here).

Study suggests Roundup’s adverse effects on future generations

A recent study about rats could have implications for humans. It shows that even when exposure to the herbicide glyphosate (the main active ingredient in Roundup, but also used in other products since the patent US expired in 2000) is low enough not to do evident damage to individual rats, their offspring in the 2nd and 3rd generations may suffer epigenetic effects, meaning that although DNA sequences are not affected, the way the body instructs genes to act may be affected, notably in sperm cells.

Thus, even apart from any effects on the exposed individual humans (witness the recent large court judgments about Bayer-Monsanto), grandchildren and great grand-children may suffer adverse health conditions. Since glyphosate entered the market 43 years ago, children whose grandparents used the product may soon, unfortunately, be observed as test cases.

If this follows the route of tobacco and opioids, after decades of human suffering, government will suddenly find itself “shocked” and start trying to hold companies responsible–with little help for the humans affected, and small impact on the companies’ bottom line or executive leaders.

Below is the official summary of an article in Scientific Reports, volume 9, Article number: 6372 (2019)l read the full article there. See more background on harmful effects of Roundup in “Take Action by September 3 to Ban This Cancer-Causing Weedkiller!” at Organic Consumers Association (accompanying photo is from there).

Assessment of Glyphosate Induced Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of Pathologies and Sperm Epimutations: Generational Toxicology

Abstract

Ancestral environmental exposures to a variety of factors and toxicants have been shown to promote the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of adult onset disease. One of the most widely used agricultural pesticides worldwide is the herbicide glyphosate (N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine), commonly known as Roundup. There are an increasing number of conflicting reports regarding the direct exposure toxicity (risk) of glyphosate, but no rigorous investigations on the generational actions. The current study using a transient exposure of gestating F0 generation female rats found negligible impacts of glyphosate on the directly exposed F0 generation, or F1 generation offspring pathology. In contrast, dramatic increases in pathologies in the F2 generation grand-offspring, and F3 transgenerational great-grand-offspring were observed. The transgenerational pathologies observed include prostate disease, obesity, kidney disease, ovarian disease, and parturition (birth) abnormalities. Epigenetic analysis of the F1, F2 and F3 generation sperm identified differential DNA methylation regions (DMRs). A number of DMR associated genes were identified and previously shown to be involved in pathologies. Therefore, we propose glyphosate can induce the transgenerational inheritance of disease and germline (e.g. sperm) epimutations. Observations suggest the generational toxicology of glyphosate needs to be considered in the disease etiology of future generations.

Monsanto And The EPA

from PennPIRG

So far, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and many other decision-makers have largely been taking Monsanto at its word when it claims its product is safe. But Monsanto has not been transparent about the potential health effects of Roundup. In 2017, Monsanto was caught ghost-writing studies for “independent scientists” to show that glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, is safe, and in late 2017, newly unsealed court documents showed Monsanto has had an influence on U.S. regulators in the EPA for years, while suppressing scientific information about the potential dangers of its widely used pesticide, Roundup.

Even without these deceptive actions, there is enough evidence to indicate that we shouldn’t be needlessly exposing ourselves to something that has the potential to cause such serious harm. But that is exactly what we are doing, and in a big way. …

read more at PennPIRG

Monsanto slammed with a $2 billion lawsuit: Another hit in a string of cancer cases

For the third time in a year, Monsanto has been found culpable by a jury for contributing to or causing cancer in long-term users of the product Roundup. Alva and Alberta Pilliod both were diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma after using the product Roundup at their home over the span of 40 years. After a 5-week trial, the jury awarded the couple $1 billion each for damages, to be paid by Bayer, the owner of Monsanto and producer of Roundup.

Roundup is the most popular weedkiller in the world, used widely by gardeners, groundskeepers, and homeowners across America. The key ingredient of Roundup, glyphosphate, is the chemical under question. While Bayer and the EPA continue to insist that glyphosate is not harmful to humans, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has found the chemical is “probably” carcinogenic to humans.

Both sides point to respective scientific studies to back their claims. So how did they reach such different conclusions? A possible explanation for this difference in findings is explained by Hilary Brueck in Business Insider. Brueck examines a paper published in Environmental Sciences Europe which found that the EPA relied mainly on industry-funded “unpublished regulatory studies”, while the IARC looked to “mostly peer-reviewed studies”. Monsanto-led studies found that farmers spraying from large spray rigs in fields have not been negatively affected by chemicals in Roundup. However, others insist that the people really in danger are those that are out spraying with a handheld device repeatedly and over a long period of time, like Alva and Alberta. Bayer continues to maintain that anyone who follows instructions on the label will be completely safe.

This is the third time in the past year that Bayer has lost to carcinogenic allegations. In August 2018, Dewayne Johnson, a groundskeeper, was awarded $78.5 million. In March of this year, Monsanto was ordered to pay $80 million to Edwin Hardeman, who used Roundup on his property for 30 years and also developed cancer.

As this latest cancer case breaks, up to 13,000 more lawsuits accumulate nationwide against Bayer-Monsanto.

Don’t Spray Me! and other local environmental groups continue to warn against the use of toxic pesticide and herbicide spraying. Instead, we promote non-toxic methods such as this safe vinegar mixture shared by DSM’s Jim Hudgings. While not everyone has agreed yet that Roundup and other sprays like it are carcinogenic, it is best to stick with a more natural approach, just to be safe. In fact, a study done in 2016 by an independent group found glyphosate in drinking water and groundwater, that the chemical damaged livers and kidneys in rats, and that pigs exposed to glyphosate exhibited congenital malformations. And although the EPA still won’t support the claim that Roundup is harmful to humans, they have admitted that there are “potential ecological risks for terrestrial and aquatic plants, birds, and mammals.” Never mind that humans are, in fact, terrestrial mammals.

If you love dogs, don’t put chemicals on lawns!

See the paper by Deborah W. Knapp et al., “Detection of herbicides in the urine of pet dogs following home lawn chemical application,” at Science of The Total Environment, Volumes 456–457, 1 July 2013, Pages 34-41.

No surprise: dogs in contact with lawns pick up lawn chemicals, which increase the risk of bladder cancer. And even more sinisterly, “Dogs may serve as sentinels for human exposure.”

To state the obvious: children are more sensitive to pesticides and herbicides than adults are; and children, like dogs, like to romp in grass.

Monsanto Roundup Attacks Healthy Gut Bacteria, Lawsuit Says

By Lydia Mulvany and Deena Shanker, Bloomberg, February 13, 2019

Monsanto Co. has been sued by thousands of farmers and others who blame their cancers on its massively popular Roundup weedkiller. Now Germany’s Bayer AG, which bought the agriculture giant last year, faces a claim that it deceived home gardeners about Roundup’s impact on their gut bacteria and their health.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in federal court in Kansas City, Missouri, claims that labels on products such as Roundup’s Weed & Grass Killer falsely assured consumers that they target an enzyme not found “in people or pets.”

According to the suit — which names three consumers as plaintiffs seeking unspecified monetary damages and class action status — Roundup’s active ingredient glyphosate attacks an enzyme also found in the beneficial intestinal bacteria of humans and some animals.

“Monsanto has misled consumers about glyphosate’s risks for decades,” plaintiffs’ attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said in an email. “Despite the company’s efforts to suppress and skew research on glyphosate, the science is in.”

The Roundup products at issue are distributed by Scotts Miracle-Gro, which is also named as a defendant. Two other suits, in Wisconsin and Washington, D.C., are based on similar arguments but aren’t class actions…

read more at Bloomberg

You have the right to know if you’re drinking Roundup

Email from PennPIRG, 2/25/19. Sign petition to USDA here.

We shouldn’t have to worry about probable carcinogens in the food and drink that we buy.

But we detected glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s pesticide Roundup, in beer and wine. A new report by our sister organization, PennPIRG Education Fund, reveals that 19 out of 20 tested samples — including some organic beer and wine — contained detectable levels of this dangerous chemical.1

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) does not currently test food and drink for the presence of glyphosate. This is just irresponsible. Tell the USDA to test for glyphosate.

Roundup is dangerously overused. Enough glyphosate is used every year to spray nearly half a pound of this dangerous chemical on every single acre of cultivated land in the world.2

That makes exposure hard to avoid.

Scientists at the World Health Organization have linked glyphosate to cancer.3 It doesn’t belong in the things we eat and drink. But PennPIRG Education Fund detected levels of glyphosate in wine of up to 51 parts per billion.4

While these numbers are below the EPA’s risk tolerances for beverages, at least one previous scientific study found that as little as one part per trillion of glyphosate can stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells and disrupt the endocrine system.5 One part per trillion is an extremely small amount — equivalent to about one drop of glyphosate in a 43-foot-deep pool covering the area of a football field.6

In light of its probable health risks, the use of Roundup should be banned unless and until it is proven safe. But meanwhile, we can at least test for this dangerous chemical in the products that we eat and drink. Add your name today.

The fact that glyphosate was found in certified organic products shows that even best practices to avoid pesticide exposure on crops may not be enough to keep glyphosate out of our food. Because Roundup is used so ubiquitously, traces of glyphosate have been detected everywhere from breakfast cereal to ice cream.7,8

We simply shouldn’t have to worry that the things we eat and drink are exposing us to probable carcinogens. The USDA already tests for other kinds of pesticides in produce. Tell the USDA: Test for glyphosate on food and drink to protect consumers.

Thank you,

Adam Garber
PennPIRG

1. Kara Cook, “Glyphosate Pesticide in Beer and Wine,” U.S. PIRG Education Fund, February 2019.
2. Charles Benbrook, “Trends in glyphosate herbicide use in the United States and globally,” Environmental Sciences Europe, February 2, 2016.
3. “IARC Monograph on Glyphosate,” International Agency for Research on Cancer / World Health Organization, January 3, 2016.
4. Kara Cook, “Glyphosate Pesticide in Beer and Wine,” U.S. PIRG Education Fund, February 2019.
5. S. Thongpraikasong et al., “Glyphosate induces human breast cancer cells growth via estrogen receptors,” Food and Chemical Toxicology, September 2013.
6. Harriett S. Stubbs, “Parts per Million, Billion, Trillion,” Science Activities, July 30, 2010.
7. “Weed-killing chemical linked to cancer found in some children’s breakfast foods,” CBS News, August 15, 2018.
8. Stephanie Strom, “Traces of Controversial Herbicide Are Found in Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream,” The New York Times, July 25, 2017.