(NaturalNews) Many of us seek solace in nature, trying to quiet and recharge our minds after a busy day at work. With 80 percent of the population residing in urban areas, city parks are often the nearest refuge for enjoying nature. Among the tall trees and rose-colored flowers, what you may not expect to find is a sheen of toxic chemicals, quietly lingering in your pathway.
In the U.S., many city parks departments are spraying Roundup in public areas, failing to provide any forewarning. Playgrounds, hike and bike trails and campgrounds are included in these areas, which are frequented by families, young children and pets.
Using Roundup to treat pests or weeds is problematic, based on the mounting research linking the pesticide to dozens of health complications, including Alzheimer’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and even autism.
It was recently reported that New York’s Park Department sprayed Monsanto’s Roundup on public greenspaces more than 1,300 times in 2013, in attempts to eliminate weeds harboring rats, according to DNAinfo New York. The city says it posts warning signs for 24 hours before and after spraying; however, many feel the warnings are inadequate.
City sprays Roundup near playgrounds to eliminate rat infestations
“In order to keep rats out of the playgrounds and meadow areas, we must use Roundup,” said Parks Department spokesman Phi Abramson. “It is not used inside playgrounds but is often used on little-used slopes outside playgrounds precisely because overgrown weeds near playgrounds harbor rats.”
The city’s use of Roundup increased by 22 percent between 2012 and 2013, reportedly due to the phase-out of other, more toxic weed-killing chemicals, according to the New York State Health Department.
A recent study linking Roundup’s active ingredient (glyphosate) to lymphoma raised a red flag, with some experts calling the study “very authoritative.” Dr. Philip Landrigan, a professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai, believes the city should reconsider its use of Roundup.
“Workers are always at highest risk from chemical exposures because they have heavy, day-to-day exposures,” said Dr. Landrigan. “But children are the group at second highest risk because their play patterns, such as stick hunting, put them in close contact with the chemicals.”
Austin Parks Dept. sprays Roundup on 38 public areas, including parks, museums and one elementary school
Children aren’t the only ones at risk. A blog called Flash Ecology, authored by Austin, Texas, resident Jackie Dana, warns that pets are also at risk for glyphosate poisoning. Dana notes that the city’s warnings are insufficient, placing only small signs within areas that have been sprayed.
“This does not give someone the option to avoid effected areas,” she wrote.
A petition was submitted to the Austin City Council in 2013, requesting that they stop using Roundup on city parks. The petition cited a Natural News article that reported on a scientific paper detailing glyphosate’s interference with human digestion and the biosynthesis of nutrients.
The City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department sprays Roundup on 38 public areas, including city parks, museums and one elementary school, according to city data from 2013.
When Natural News reached out for comment, our phone calls were unreturned.
However, we were able to get into contact with the City of Wimberley, a small community located 30 miles southwest of Austin. Located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, Wimberley is known for its beautiful landscape and natural swimming areas; it’s also “pesticide-sensitive,” according to Doug Ferguson, the City Administrator.
Wimberley is currently using two pesticides (neither of which is Roundup), spraying them periodically along roadways. The city has a “no spraying by the water” policy that works towards keeping the rivers clean, a smart practice considering all of the tourism attracted by the area’s crystal clear creeks and rivers that flow over sculpted limestone beds.
Ferguson explained that most of their weeds are removed by hand through community service projects, offering scout groups a chance to learn about the native plant species as well as helping curb pesticide use.
Written by Julie Wilson
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