By Nathan Solis
Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, whose Fifth District includes the Santa Clarita Valley, has called for a halt of the use of the popular weed killer glyphosate on county property until it can be determined the product is safe for humans and the environment.
While Barger notes the county’s use of glyphosate – most commonly known by its brand name Roundup – is compliant with federal and state regulations, recent concerns about exposure to the herbicide study mandate a study of the risks associated with its use.
“I am asking county departments to stop the use of this herbicide until public health and environmental professionals can determine if it’s safe for further use in LA County and explore alternative methods for vegetation management,” Barger said in a statement.
If the Board of Supervisors approves Barger’s motion at next week’s meeting, the county’s departments of public works, parks and recreation, beaches and harbors, and the agricultural commission will study the health risks associated with the herbicide and make recommendations within 30 days.
With a population of over 10 million, the county oversees dozens of parks, amphitheaters including the Hollywood Bowl and community gardens across 2,600 square miles.
A product of Monsanto – which is now owned by German chemical giant Bayer – Roundup is at the center of a federal lawsuit in San Francisco, where the agrochemical company is fighting claims its product caused a California man’s cancer.
The potential link between Sonoma county resident Edwin Hardeman’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Roundup has been argued in front of a jury this month and is the second case involving claims the glyphosate-based weed killer caused cancer.
In 2018, a San Francisco jury awarded former school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson $289 million after determining Monsanto caused his terminal non-Hodgkin lymphoma by hiding the health risks from the public. A judge later reduced the award to $39.2 million and both sides have appealed.
Several nations have banned or restricted the use of glyphosate. Belgium banned the individual use of the chemical and most of Canada’s provinces have restrictions or prohibitions on non-essential cosmetic pesticides. Portugal has completely ban use of the chemical in all public spaces.