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Gunn High School Poisoned Earth

Original post made by Brielle Johnck, Menlo Park, on Mar 20, 2007

I had the opportunity to ride my bicycle through Bol Park last week and was horrified to see the parched ground in the area between the official park and the High School. After researching the reason for this, I found an article in the Palo Alto Weekly that revealed the land had been intentionally poisoned by a contractor hired by Gunn High School or the Palo Alto Unified School District.

I find this fact hard to accept for several reasons: First, the appearance is terrible. It looks like a war zone. Secondly, children, their parents and their pets have traditionally used this hilly field area for recreation. I have ridden by and seen goats grazing in this area, a scene I have cherished and consequently applauded Palo Alto for allowing. Third, The Mid-Peninsula has become a leader in today's environmental movement, thanks in part, to a progressive City Council, an educated population and several dedicated community groups, such as ACTERRA, Canopy, Committee For Green Foothills, The Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter, Hidden Villa, POST, Mid Peninsula Open Space, Friends of Bayfront Park, just to name a few.

While so many of us are heeding the warnings of Vice President Al Gore by driving less, purchasing solar panels to off-set our electricity use, buying fruits and vegetables grown locally and using only biodegradable laundry and gardening products, I find it callous that Gunn High School would commit such a transgression. Where better place than a school to teach our children that we cannot treat the earth as though it is disposable but, instead find a wiser and gentle method to control weeds.

I urge the Board to conduct a study as to what methods are being used to eradicate, control or live with weeds are used by all the schools under your supervision.



Comments (54)

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Posted by Kirk
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 20, 2007 at 1:53 pm

The PAUSD should be commended for using appropriate, safe and cheap weed control. Roundup is all of the above. Chemistry for better living is something that should be taught to our children. We should avoid teaching neo-Luddite lessons to our kids - it is dangerous.

Whichever groundskeeper was responsible for applying Roundup to the weeds at Gunn should be given a performance bonus.


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Posted by RoundUp Fan
a resident of Meadow Park
on Mar 20, 2007 at 3:45 pm

I use Roundup all the time. It works great. Are the kids going to be grazing back there too? If you don't eat it or rub alot of it on your skin, I think everything will be just fine. Being gentle on the environment is important. Abandoning all use of chemicals is an absolute impossibility.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 20, 2007 at 5:39 pm

Roundup has a surfactant in it that is known to kill frogs in small concentrations. It is likely equally lethal to salamanders. That hillside runs off into the nearby creek. The surfactant does not degrade like the poison is supposed to.

The Australian government required Monsanto to use a less toxic surfactant in Roundup if they wanted to continue selling the product in Australia.

Poisoning the hillside was not necessary. There were other ways to accomplish the same thing, and better ways to make up any cost differential (which is based on a short-sighted calculation of the costs anyway).

I'd like to know whose decision it was to do this, they don't belong in a school district position of authority. Those of you who love poison so much are welcome to poison yourselves, but a lot of us don't want you poisoning our kids, wildlife, or setting that example. I believe some state laws for notice to the community may have been violated here, does anyone have more information?


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Posted by theopaul
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 20, 2007 at 7:43 pm

Well said anonymous. More power to you! Unfortunately, I don't know the answer to your good questions.


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Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 21, 2007 at 7:13 am

When used as directed, Roundup does not poison ourselves, our kids or wildlife. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Our school kids should be taught facts.

For those students/adults who protest the use of Roundup, hand them a hoe and tell them to get busy.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 21, 2007 at 12:39 pm

Roundup is not as safe as you claim, your refusal to look at facts like medical studies does not change this fact.

Some of the research is fairly recent, so you may not be aware of it:
Web Link

(I encourage you to locate the actual research rather than using the articles about them.)

One of the reasons Roundup was not realized to be so toxic is because studies of the poison missed how dangerous the detergent used to disperse it is.

Our kids should be taught to be skeptical and err on the side of safety when there are alternatives without any of those risks.

Thank you for mentioning options -- if we in the school community had been given our legally due notice of the intentions to poison the fields behind the school, many of us would have insisted on other options, including community volunteer efforts. Like I said, you are welcome to ignore evidence and poison yourself, but do not foist it on our kids or the rest of us. (This discussion feels very much like arguments with smokers ten years ago -- there is no way we will come to any understanding. I therefore have to insist that laws which are supposed to protect us from people who will never be willing to think conservatively about safety be followed, especially by our school district.)


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Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 21, 2007 at 2:08 pm

I will say again on this thread that my freshman Paly son has been required several times this year by his biology teacher to pull weeds at a certain area of the Paly campus. He tells me that they are now sowing vegetable seeds to harvest vegetables to sell next year as a fundraiser.

I am not sure what this is teaching him, but he is grudgingly doing it as his grade needs the effort.


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Posted by ten18
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 21, 2007 at 3:09 pm

Anonymous - so the school district is bound to consult with you before conducting routine grounds maintenance activities utilizing legal, commercially-available herbicides? What legally-due notice was the district supposed to provide? [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] What if this was a private firm? What recourse would you have then?


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Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 21, 2007 at 3:10 pm

Anonymous,

I made a factual statement, then you provided a link that you thought contradicted that statement, but it actually supports my statement. Read your own article.

BTW, since you are quite confident that other cost-effective methods can be used to control weeds, are you willing to volunteer to lead the effort? I don't want to see our already overburdened school system waste money.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 21, 2007 at 6:17 pm

I believe there are state laws requiring notice when poisons are used around schools. Notice that allows for community feedback. So I believe the answer to your question is yes. I would love further information on that here.

If I had been given notice, ABSOLUTELY I would have been willing to volunteer to provide an alternative. I have heard a penny drive by school children for goats suggested -- I recall not too long ago that the City of Palo Alto hired goats and found it a cost-effective alternative to machines for large areas. I have been involved in successful penny drives for much larger amounts of money. This would have had the added benefits of a local field trip opportunity for small children to see the results of their efforts AND possibly paying for the entire clean up, not just saving a little money (calculated in the short-sighted way that this was).

I think an effort that called for actual volunteer labor would be a harder sell, but I think would also have been possible in this community. It would also have had the added benefit of eliminating the cost to the district, not just reducing it by some small amount. Even you can't love poison so much that you would argue with getting something free for the district, something that makes everyone happy and wouldn't risk running afoul of state laws the same way poison could.

We will have to agree to disagree about the poison. This is very much like the debates over cigarette smoking -- some people will never listen to reason about the dangers, only attack others who give them information. I frankly think you are being more unreasonable and hysterical, all I did was give one little link to some facts (you on the other hand have provided none, you've just called names). There are many others I could provide.

The fact is, there are so very many examples in our recent history of supposedly "safe" things that turned out not to be so safe, it's really just idiotic to keep behaving this way, especially in situations where there are indisputably safe and economically reasonable alternatives. Again, with children, we need to err on the side of caution, because I believe Palo Alto parents are more likely to make sound decisions for our kids than Monsanto.


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Posted by Simon Firth
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 21, 2007 at 7:23 pm

Even if you don't think Roundup is that dangerous, laying waste to acres of green space is poor resource management and it's sad to see our school district practicing it.

Here's a post I made to the earlier thread on this topic:

I agree that this sounds like a penny wise, pound foolish way to get rid of vegetation.

Although Roundup is less harmful than other herbicides, killing large swathes of vegetation outright is poor land management, destroying all sorts of useful plants and shelter for beneficial animals. Don't we have a bee crisis right now, for example? How does this action help provide habitat for useful pollinators? Surely we should be looking to take every acre of grassland we have and managing it for maximum diversity (which can be done without making it a fire hazard).

Spraying may be cheaper if you only account for PAUSD's bottom line. But we need to understand the costs to the area and to its nearby residents (human and non-human) that come with managing land this way – costs that rebalance the differential between mowing and spraying.

We need the PAUSD to see that their dollar saving is a poor deal for the rest of us, and even for themselves. Here are some costs they are not accounting for and that we are all paying instead:

- costs to the environment, in terms of 2 acres of lost habitat, lost diversity, lost pollinators and other beneficial insects, and loss of useful vegetation from spray extending beyond the target area

- costs to people's health, in terms of additional risks (however small) from spraying, added summer dust from lack of ground cover for 2 acres of dirt

- costs to the health of pets (like domestic cats) and other wildlife (birds, mammals, amphibians etc.) which run into the area before the three day quarantine period is over

- costs to the school district, in terms of lost community esteem and an opportunity forgone to be a leader in open space management

- costs to Gunn students, in terms of a lost on-site opportunity for learning about responsible environmental management

- costs to neighbors, in terms of lost pleasure in their surroundings – the 'rural' feel is one reason a lot of people choose to live in Barron Park – call it aesthetic blight and it has a real (although hard to quantify) impact on lives

Isn't that kind of real-world accounting a key part of environmental education? Indeed, isn't there a wonderful opportunity here instead to use this land for lessons in Earth-stewardship to Gunn's students?

People on this board are always calling for innovation and creative thinking in our town. Here's a chance for Gunn and the School District to get creative. I hope they solicit community and student input and come up with a management plan that reflects a more environmentally positive approach to their land.

It ought to be possible to find an alternative -- such as grazing, less intense mowing, or funding for mowing from a community environmental group that in return gets to see the space used for maximum community, environmental and educational benefit -- that costs less than the five day mowing job that it takes right now but which benefits, rather penalizes, than the community into the bargin.


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Posted by ten18
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 21, 2007 at 8:22 pm

I'm pretty sure that Roundup is not regulated by state law, since it is available as a retail item. Therefore, the school district is probably not obligated to provide public notice every time the want to kill a few weeds. Your offer of an alternative is noble; however, the school district is essentially a business - they collect tax dollars, and in return are supposed to provide cost-effective educational services. These services are supported by mundane things such as grounds maintenance. Do you think that the person in charge of grounds maintenance for the district has time to think about getting kids, or goats, or whatever, together to kill a few weeds? I mean, give me a break! The district has few resources - I'm sure they'd rather spend their time just getting the job done in the most cost-effective manner.


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Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 21, 2007 at 10:18 pm

Ten18,

Excellent post!

If people want to make [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff] demands of the school district, regarding Roundup, they should step forward and take on the problem. However, they should guarantee, ahead of time, that it will not cost staff time, liability premiums, etc. For instance, if students are handed hoes to get the job done, who will supervize them? If a kid gets hurt on the job, who will be liable?

Give the guy, who sprayed the Roundup, a bonus...then move on!

This is ridiculous...and pretty typical of what causes many problems in Palo Alto.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 21, 2007 at 11:15 pm

John,
Let me say a third time: had parents been given notice, I and other concerned parents WOULD HAVE stepped up and made this a non-issue. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Here's a relevant, recent article about the injuries caused by poisons in and near schools. The pesticides in the article include herbicides -- in all likelihood, Roundup, since it's the major herbicide used in urban (or other) settings.
Web Link

The EPA lists Roundup as a toxic substance with dangers to children specifically. It's not SAFE (as in, tomatoes are safe), it's just SAFER than other herbicides, which are incredibly toxic.

The Wikipedia entry on Roundup was posted on the other discussion, so I will post it again here. It is detailed and well-referenced. Web Link There are certainly more authoritative places to find the same information, including many of the referenced sources (like the EPA).

You want to give the "guy" responsible for this travesty a bonus, name him. A lot of us have a difference of opinion and would like the school district to employ people in authority who have a greater sense of responsibility to our children and who will err on the side of safety and informing the school community. Perhaps you don't have kids in school, but "getting the job done" in a school district means dealing with parents.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 21, 2007 at 11:48 pm

Here's a great article that reviews state pesticide laws regarding schools:
Web Link

Apparently, Callifornia is not required to provide advanced notice when poisoning school grounds. They are required to provide notice during and after spraying, which I hear was done. So, the contractor or employee did not violate state laws. It does not make what s/he did right for kids or for our community.

Clearly, most states wrestle with this issue and many states have stricter laws. The US Supreme Court has ruled on the issue of whether states AND local governments can have stricter standards when it comes to pesticide use, and they can.

So, apparently the rest of the country is full of parents who also want what is best for their kids. Call that hysterical if you want. But keep your poison to yourself


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Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 22, 2007 at 8:44 am

PAUSD is unable to make any type of rational decision at present without it becoming local contraversial fodder. Whether it be MI, Roundup, or promoting administrators, they are showing a weakness that is mind boggling and great lack of foresight.


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Posted by ten18
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2007 at 1:18 pm

I know I'm an "anti" on this thread, and I would have handled my own two acres of weeds the same way, with Roundup; however, if I was a member of the school board, and there was an organized response and sincere committment (everyone says they will, but will they really?) by members of the public to supplement district weed abatement efforts with eco-minded volunteers, I would certainly be willing to listen. I think what most people are missing here is that the average rank-and-file district employee or even manager is not interested in your ideology regarding "poisons." They are directed to perform certain tasks in the most cost-effective manner, in accordance with district policies, and applicable law. They are evaluated on their performance carrying out their duties.

Tarring and feathering employees or contractors is really unfair, and unproductive. The ideas expressed here are properly directed to the school board, who are the responsible for setting district policy, which would probably include how pest and weed management programs are conducted. There may be policy that prevents the use of volunteers for these activities, for liability reasons. All of that would need to be evaluated at the board level.


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Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 22, 2007 at 2:15 pm

Annonymous,

You should at least read your own stuff more carefully.

First off, Roundup is a herbicide, not a pesticide. Any attempt to call it a pesticide reflects poorly on those chosing to do so.

Second, you have yet to show ANY evidence that Roundup, used as directed, is toxic to humans or wildlife. It is obviously toxic to plants, because it inhibits an enzyme found only in plants.

Third, in terms of posting (from your own article):

"California Food & Agricultural Code, section 12978,
requires posting on school grounds, when the pesticide
applied has a worker reentry interval12 of at least 24
hours. The school is responsible for posting the sign for the
length of the restricted-entry interval."

Roundup does not have a worker reentry intervall. In fact, it is labelled as safe for children once it dries (about 20 minutes).

Roundup is safe. It is effective against weeds. It is cheap. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] The guy who did the spraying should get a bonus.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 22, 2007 at 5:53 pm

John,
I used the word "pesticide" for Roundup because that is the term used by the article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (ever heard of that?) which was covered in one of the links I sent earlier: "The definition of 'pesticide' used in the study included insecticides, disinfectants, repellents, HERBICIDES [emphasis mine], fungicides, rodenticides and fumigants."

I have also provided a lot of evidence that Roundup is toxic -- you have provided none that it is nontoxic. Additionally, I have provided several leads to places where you could learn more, but you have clearly chosen not to, and I'm guessing no amount of my suggesting you do would ever make you. You clearly have a philosophical axe to grind when it comes to poison -- as do I -- and as with the smoking debate, we will never come to an agreement.

So, for everyone else, please read the Wikipedia article, it is balanced and well-referenced (link in previous message).

"Glyphosate is classed as a moderately toxic herbicide and in EPA toxicity class III." EPA toxicity class IV is the nontoxic class, Roundup is not in it. Additionally, as I wrote above, one of the problems with the studies on the poison in Roundup is that Roundup isn't just that poison, Roundup has detergents in it that are know to be highly toxic to wildlife -- some of the medical studies demonstrating that are fairly recent. The detergent is so toxic, as I said, the Australian government made Monsanto change it to a less toxic detergent in order to sell in Australia. They still sell the more toxic version everywhere else. (So I guess that makes the whole country of Australia hysterical in your opinion, too?) The detergent, frankly, is my greatest concern with that hillside.

Because there is so much evidence that Roundup is toxic to children and wildlife, because of so much overwhelming experience in the past with substances deemed "safe" that were later found to be dangerous (like nuclear radiation), I think it is incumbent on us to err on the side of safety with children especially when there is a safe alternative that carries no risk.

Do I think Roundup should never be used? No, I think sometimes, in some situations, it makes sense. Do I think it was the right thing in this situation? Absolutely not.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Onlne staff.]

ten18, thank you for your last response in this discussion. BTW, I am not looking for the name of the person responsible to "tar and feather" him/her, but to see whether they, like John, have a philosophical axe to grind and will always be poisoning around schools whether the community is against it or not. Please also consider that the use of poisons, even approved poisons, also carries risks and potential liability (in more far-reaching ways).


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Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 22, 2007 at 9:59 pm

"Because there is so much evidence that Roundup is toxic to children and wildlife..."

Those are your words, Annonymous. Back them up. Nothing you have thus far provided shows that Roundup, used as directed, is toxic to anything other than plants. Of course, if you want to drink concentrated Roundup out of the container, about 100 ml will probably kill you. However, that would not be using the herbicide as directed. The toxic effect on tadpoles, when applied to open water, is real - that is one of the reasons that Monsanto specifically warns against applying to open water.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] We live in a modern world that has been made incredibly more comfortable and safe because of modern organic chemistry. Many of those chemicals, if used in extreme amounts would be toxic to humans and wildlife. If used appropriately, they are life enhancers. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

You asked me to prove that Roundup is not toxic, when used as directed. It had to pass many standard toxicity tests before it went to market. The surfactant issue arose when tests were done in open water - something Roundup was not intended for. Since Roundup has passed (with flying colors) the standard toxicity regimens, it is up to you and others to prove that it is toxic. Thus far, you have provided no such evidence - not even a single piece of data.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 22, 2007 at 11:23 pm

Yada yada. John, I've provided lots of information, you just choose to ignore it. There isn't anything I could say that would change your mind, you clearly have a position staked out in "better living through modern chemistry" (which I studied in college and worked in chemistry labs for years, I'm just a luddite to you because you don't like that I don't agree with you and take a more conservative position when it comes to poisons around kids).

So, how long did you say you've been working in the landscape industry?


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Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 23, 2007 at 6:41 am

"There isn't anything I could say that would change your mind..."

Sure there is, Anonymous. You could provide data that shows that Roundup is toxic to humans or wildlife, when used are directed. You haven't done that yet.

You like to throw around the term 'poison'. From the Wikipedia site I obtained the following:

"Paracelsus, the father of toxicology states-- "Everything is poison, there is poison in everything. Only the dose makes a thing not a poison"

The dose of Roundup, used as directed to kill weeds, is too low to qualify it as a poison to people and animals. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

The only landscape industry I work in is my own yard. In fact, I used Roundup last week, and my weeds are now yellowing very nicely.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by theopal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 23, 2007 at 7:59 am

Once again, good work anonymous....you can lead a horse to water.....

Name calling only reveals a lack of undestanding and compassion....

Calling people hysterical because they are opposed to eliminating weeds via chemicals and pesticides is totally unacceptable.

I never use pesticides to pull my weeds, and I never would.

If you want to poiosn yourself, you are free to do so. But when the poison enters the public realm, this is another story.


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Posted by Roundup fan
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 23, 2007 at 8:22 am

Clearly, anonymous has yet to provide any proof that Roundup, when used as specified is dangerous.
Some additional points regarding anonymous' postings:

1)the link below, posted on Mar 21, 2007 at 12:39 pm is not a valid link:
Web Link

2) the first web link posted on Mar 21, 2007 at 11:15 pm by anonymous (Web Link) does not refer to Roundup at all--it is a red herring tossed in by anonymous to make it seem like Roundup is a problem.

3) the second web link posted on Mar 21, 2007 at 11:15Am by anonymous (Web Link) clearly refers to Roundup as a herbicide and not a pesticide.

I agree with John that anonymous has yet to provide any proof that Roundup is a problem when used as directed.

This is clearly an attempt by anonymous, using terms that are sure to inflame and not providing any proof for his/her assertions, to make a mountain out of a molehill.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 23, 2007 at 8:53 am

[reposting a message from a previous message board on this subject]
So, what about this 2-year-old research study by University of Pittsburgh Medical Center?
Web Link

Doesn't sound that benign to me.

The truth is, we put toxic stuff out in the environment over and over again with very little idea of how dangerous it is. When someone says something is safe, there really aren't comprehensive and definitive steps taken to prove it really, truly, beyond a doubt is safe. We are all after-market guinea pigs. Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of poison. For poisons that have alternatives which we can say are absolutely safe, it just seems we should learn the lessons of the past and act conservatively where we can. I thought the City of Palo Alto had a policy of doing so.

In India, they are facing an ecological disaster because something like 90-98% of the vultures have died in just the past decade. Turns out it's because of an anti-inflammatory medication that's become popular to give to livestock -- which is apparently harmless to humans and the livestock, but is lethal to the vultures when they do their job cleaning up the livestock carcasses India really relies on the vultures in many crucial cultural and ecological ways. (For a more complete story, see the recent issue of Smithsonian Magazine covering this problem.) What individuals have gained by using these medications has nowhere near offset the cost to the national economy because of the loss of these vultures. For one, wild dog populations have surged where vultures have declined, leading to something like 20-30,000 human rabies deaths across the country annually.

When I was in college, I remember walking in on the poison guy dusting the communal kitchen for roaches. He had on protective gear; no warning was given for anyone else to cover up. All the dishes and surfaces were being coated with the poison. I asked about the poison -- he said it wasn't toxic to humans, but that we should wash everything before using it if we wanted to. But since there was no official warning, when everyone came home from classes, they used the dishes and pots without rewashing, figuring I must have been overly worried. That product, dursban, has been taken off the market after 20 years because of its toxicity.

Relax indeed.


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Posted by Roundup fan
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 23, 2007 at 9:21 am

anonymous, Once again you have not provided an actual web link to anything--all you have done is put in the words "web link" in your post.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 23, 2007 at 9:38 am

This should clarify the points about toxicity to frogs; Roundup is toxic to frogs in realistic concentrations found in water:
Web Link

"This means that even when Roundup is well within expected concentrations, a substantial fraction of a tadpole population can be killed."

"According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife classifications, this means that Roundup formulations containing the POEA surfactant can no longer be considered slightly to moderately toxic, but rather moderately to highly toxic to North American amphibians."

"A new study has discovered that Roundup can be highly lethal to terrestrial frogs and toads as well as well (Relyea 2005c)."

There is such a thing as runoff and dust, especially since both would move toward that creek below the hillside. The detergent in Roundup would runoff, and it is what kills frogs and toads. The poison/detergent does not have to be sprayed on the water to kill amphibians, because they don't reproduce in the deep water, they reproduce in areas nearby.

From the Wiki article (well-referenced): "Until recently most studies of glyphosate and glyphosate product toxicty have been carried out by Monsanto or funded by them. On two occasions the American EPA has caught scientists deliberately falsifying test results at research laboratories hired by Monsanto to study glyphosate,"

Here's one of the links about toxicity in humans that you could have read and countered with evidence if you wished (there are many others):
Web Link

The main point is that Monsanto is the one saying Roundup is safe. The link that you say isn't relevant from my post above, from the JAMA article about injuries and toxic effects of pesticides used in and around schools, does not specifically name the pesticides. But it breaks them out in percentages, what percentage of the pesticide injuries (when known) were from bug killers, what was from herbicides, etc. Given the dates of the study, the bug killers were almost certainly majority Dursban, since it, like Roundup, was similarly advertised as being nontoxic to humans and was used liberally in schools for 20 years until it was taken off the market recently because of its significant toxicity to children. Since Roundup is one of the most commonly used chemicals in this country, [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff] it is almost certainly the herbicide/majority herbicide mentioned in the study which accounted for 11% of the illnesses.

I'm not the best person to ask for a treatise on Roundup. There is a lot of evidence out there if you choose to look at it; apparently some people prefer to attack me personally.

The point is that there IS much evidence, and whether you accept it or not, it all raises valid and significant questions. Since our whole modus operandi in this country is to rely on extremely limited safety studies sponsored by manufacturers, then later discover toxic effects after-market (and argue about them for years while the damage is done), given the recent studies on Roundup toxicity, we simply should err on the side of caution and not use it around our kids and creeks when there are alternatives that we KNOW are not toxic at all.

I am advocating a sensible, conservative approach to poison in schools. Even the EPA suggests that IPM methods be a first resort around schools (even before "safer" poisons).

It's a difference of philosophy similar to the smoking debate (especially the second-hand smoking debate -- reminds me of all those people who insisted that if they just smoked in their own cubicles, it wasn't bothering anyone else). There won't ever be common ground. So those who are concerned with safety of our kids just need to act.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by What is Wrong with the City
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 23, 2007 at 12:15 pm

Exhibit A on why nothing can be accomplished in this city. I am not a scientist, and can't claim to have read these postings, however it seems a bit over the top to suggest that an approved weed elimination product like Round-Up is a poison. This is a case of greens gone bad I believe (this coming from a hybrid driver). If the district had a policy of letting the weeds grow, little Johnny or little Jane would have an allergic attack and the district would be sued for improper land management. Let them kill the weeds and move on anonymous. Let's talk more about how popular culture is poisoning the minds of our children and less about a harmless weed removal product.


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Posted by Theopaul
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 23, 2007 at 12:34 pm

A hybrid driver.....
A green gone bad...

probably got yourself an Obama sticker too!

Seriously, your attitude needs improvement.
What on earth is so threatening to you folks about pouring less chemies all over the place?
Do you own stock in these companies?
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 23, 2007 at 3:12 pm

"extensive investigations strongly support the conclusion that glyphosate has a very low level of toxicity..."


reference:
1. Franz, J.E., M.K. Mao, and J.A. Sikorski. 1997. Glyphosate: A unique global herbicide. ACS Monograph 189. Washington D.C.: American Chemical Society.

That quote and the reference are from your link, Anonymous. Your side tries to overcome that accepted standard by using very high doses of ingested Roundup to make its toxicological case. That is bogus science.

" I was just trying to flush out your emotional attachment to poison and your need to aggressively foist it on everyone else."

What poison are you talking about? Surely not Roundup, because it is not a poison, if used are directed. My emotions are not roused in defense of Roundup, but they are increased when I try to defend my local schools [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 23, 2007 at 3:22 pm

"What is Wrong with the City" -- you really should read the postings before spouting off. Even Monsanto, who makes Roundup, knows it's a poison! Are you suggesting everything that is deemed poisonous is never approved for use? Just because a poison is allowed for sale, doesn't mean it should be considered as safe as, say, water.

The district has refrained from poisoning the weeds in all the years up til now -- there hasn't been a lawsuit about allergies or weed removal [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Now who is being unreasonable? (unreasonable meaning making it hard to get anything done, which you claim not to want).

The practice of using poison on our school property when there are completely non-toxic alternatives (that could have been done had the community been informed, probably even saving the entire cost of the clean up to the district) is unacceptable. My guess is that the decision was made by a contractor who would have stood to lose getting paid for that job, and thus had no incentive to do anything differently.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 23, 2007 at 3:37 pm

John,
I don't really feel like getting into a back and forth with you cherry picking one side (especially since that side is primarily from Monsanto and there are considerable problems with their evidence). I gave links to something that was balanced, with information pro and con. Anyone who is really interested can look at all of the references and make up your own mind. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Roundup is classified by the government as a pesticide/herbicide (per NIH database) -- last I looked, pesticides and herbicides were considered poison.

Yes, Roundup is considerably safer than other available herbicides. I am not calling for its ban, as your emotional overreaction suggests. I am simply saying that we should, as first resort, when they are so easily available to us as they were in this case, be using procedures that are 100% non-toxic (there were several non-toxic alternatives, including those used in the past), especially when it comes to our schools. Poison your own backyard to your heart's content. But when it comes to poison at our schools, expect a fight. If that causes unacceptable hurdles to "getting things done" (getting what done? ensuring poison is applied instead of safer alternatives?), there are certainly other communities around with less conservative sensibilities when it comes to poison.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 23, 2007 at 4:25 pm

John,
What are you defending our schools from? Concerned parents who want to be notified of large-scale poison applications around schools so that we can propose safer and possibly even no-cost alternatives? (Let me say once again, YES I would be willing to be a part of an effort to raise money to accomplish something like that for the district -- which could save the entire cost of the cleanup, not just some small differential, calculated in a narrow way). Had I and others been given the opportunity, we would have done this.

So you're saying you want to defend our schools spending more to use poison, and causing mistrust in the community at large? Let's face it, we've all accepted at face value the calculation of whether it saved money; the city has had brush-clearing goat contracts in the past, could money have been saved if this work had been coordinated with that? Such things were not factored in the cost comparison. And again, a positive effort like a penny drive for school kids could have netted more than just a savings, it might have paid for the entire cost of the cleanup and provided an educational opportunity to boot. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 23, 2007 at 6:46 pm

"What are you defending our schools from?"

I am defending them from irrational attacks, like yours.

I want our schools to make rational choices and provide their services in an efficient way. The use of Roundup is but one small example of doing it the right way.

I do support your notions of raising money for the schools in order to use alternatives, but the schools should not feel any need to inform anyone of the use of Roundup. You might want to approach the school and suggest that you will write a check for a union worker to be hired to cut weeds in the district. The probable total cost would be about $50K per year (including benefits).


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 23, 2007 at 11:35 pm

"high levels of premature births and miscarriages observed among female farmers using glyphosate"

"New Evidence Establishes Dangers of Roundup" :
Web Link

"An epidemiological study of Ontario farming populations showed that exposure to glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup, nearly doubled the risk of late miscarriages. Seralini and his team decided to research the effects of the herbicide on human placenta cells. Their study confirmed the toxicity of glyphosate, as after eighteen hours of exposure at low concentrations, large proportions of human placenta began to die. Seralini suggests that this may explain the high levels of premature births and miscarriages observed among female farmers using glyphosate.

"Seralini's team further compared the toxic effects of the Roundup formula (the most common commercial formulation of glyphosate and chemical additives) to the isolated active ingredient, glyphosate. They found that the toxic effect increases in the presence of Roundup 'adjuvants' or additives. These additives thus have a facilitating role, rendering Roundup twice as toxic as its isolated active ingredient, glyphosate."

In case you aren't familiar with the sprayed acreage, John, since you live way over in College Terrace, it's adjacent to a long biking path preferred by families (including pregnant women), joggers, walkers, and runners.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 24, 2007 at 12:07 am

A sampling of a few things I found easily with simple literature searches:

1) A study by eminent Swedish oncologists (from Pubmed):
Web Link
demonstrates links between Roundup and non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

2) The poison in Roundup can affect the growth and survival of earthworms (New Zealand study, sorry not followed up on here):
Springett J A and Gray R A J (1992) Effect of repeated low doses of biocides on the earthworm Aporrectodea caliginosa in laboratory culture. Soil Biol. Biochem. 24(12):1739-1744

3) Roundup can be toxic to beneficial fungi which aid plants in taking up nutrients from soil:

Chakravarty P and Chatarpaul L (1990) Non-target effect of herbicides: I. Effect of glyphosate and hexazinone on soil microbial activity. Microbial population, and in-vitro growth of ectomycorrhizal fungi. Pestic. Sci. 28:233-241

Chakravarty P and Sidhu S S (1987) Effects of glyphosate, hexazinone and triclorpyr on in vitro growth of five species of ectomycorrhizal fungi. Eur. J. For. Path. 17:204-210

4) Roundup isn't necessarily bound by soil as believed and can leach into water;
Piccolo A et al. (1994) Adsorption and desorption of glyphosate in some European soils. J. Environ. Sci. Health B29(6):1105-1115


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Posted by Larry
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 24, 2007 at 8:08 am

Anonymous, Phrases like "poison yourself" and "foist it on our kids" don't set the tone for a reasoned debate. But your points are well taken.

Roundup is safer than most chemical alternatives. For that very reason, it is used far more than other herbicides. The sheer quantity we have used has made what might have been a relatively harmless environmental contaminant a danger to numerous organisms.

I wonder what weed was so threatening to the neighborhood that an herbicide had to be used to eradicate it.


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Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 24, 2007 at 9:45 am

Anonymous,

The luddite blog you reference is clearly biased, but Pub Med is a good neutral source. There are so many publications that could be referenced that show that Roundup is not toxic to the environment, if used as directed. Here is just one example:

1: Environ Toxicol Chem. 2005 Sep;24(9):2336-40. Links
Toxicity of herbicides in highway runoff.Huang X, Fong S, Deanovic L, Young TM.
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, California 95616, USA.

Previous field monitoring at two highway sites found highway-applied herbicides in storm water runoff at maximum concentrations ranging from 10 microg/L for glyphosate and diuron to as high as 200 microg/L for oryzalin. To determine whether these herbicides at these concentrations can cause any toxicity to aquatic organisms, a standard toxicity study was conducted. Storm water was collected along Highway 37, Sonoma County, California, USA, and the herbicides isoxaben, oryzalin, diuron, clopyralid, and glyphosate were spiked into the storm water at the highest concentrations observed during the five previous field-monitoring campaigns. Three different toxicity studies were conducted and the results showed the following: No significant reduction in reproduction or increase in mortality relative to the control for an 8-d Ceriodaphnia (water flea) toxicity test; no significant increase in mortality or decrease in biomass compared to the control during a 7-d Pimephales (fish) toxicity test; and, in a 96-h Selenastrum (algae) toxicity test, both the 10-microg/L diuron treatment and the combined 50-microg/L isoxaben plus 200-microg/L oryzalin treatment produced significant (p < 0.05) reductions in algal growth compared to the controls, although the 30-microg/L clopyralid or 10-microg/L glyphosate (Roundup active ingredient)treatments did not exhibit any toxic effects.

PMID: 16193763 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Roundup has been extensively studied, and it will continue to be studied. However, epidemiological reports should always be viewed with suspicion (e.g. the late term miscarriage report) (Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Martha
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 24, 2007 at 10:00 am

I again urge all of you who think that the school district's use of Roundup on a two-acre meadow is no big deal to come and look at it. This is for all intents and purposes park land (owned by Stanford, I might add.) It is situated between Gunn's soccer field and the official beginning of Bol Park. Most people who use the adjacent biking and walking paths think of this area as Bol Park. Whether Roundup is dangerous to humans, dogs, and local wildlife is only one question. Why those of us who use this park every day should now be confronted with a huge expanse of dead vegation instead of a field of poppies, larkspur (and yes, some weeds) is another question. Come see for yourselves. You can enter Bol Park from Matadero, Barron, or Los Robles avenues, or park at Gunn and walk.


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Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 24, 2007 at 10:07 am

Martha,

Even though I don't think the use of Roundup is worthy of a protest, I can certainly understand your point of view. If the weeds were not controlled in the past, why was it suddenly a problem? Were they controlled in the past? Are they a potential fire threat? Is the PAUSD liable if a fire starts there?


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 24, 2007 at 11:01 am

Larry,
Thanks for your reasoned comment. Sorry for the tone of the comments you mention [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] I will try to limit myself to links and studies from now on and not respond to name-calling.

This gets really wearying, John, but the reference you bring up in your last message tested only glyphosate (the poison in Roundup), not the detergent used with it in Roundup that that has been proven to kill amphibians and amplifies the toxic effects of glyphosate. It is the detergent that the Australian government required Monsanto to remove from Roundup (and replace with a safer detergent) if it wanted to continue selling glyphosate herbicide in Australia. This was done because of the evidence that the surfactant is significantly lethal to amphibians in realistic concentrations and applications per directions.

If you wish to find them, there are many research articles, found on Pubmed, looking at the dangers of inert ingredients in poisons including Roundup, previously overlooked and never taken into account in safety studies.

The Swedish researchers who did the recent work on fetal dangers of Roundup are well-respected. The Swedes in general today are leading the world in environmental/ecological research. There are many other Pubmed references on that topic. You were concerned about the liability associated with manual clearing of brush, yet given these recent studies, the liability associated with potential exposure to or overspray of poison (with the houses along that whole path) are considerably greater. Whether you will ever consider or agree with the evidence is beside the point -- [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff] it exists, and it creates a potential liability far in excess of any other kind of action on a school ground.

The article, "New Evidence Establishes Dangers of Roundup" was published in the Bay Guardian, and was listed by a media organization that highlights important, overlooked media stories as one of the top ten overlooked stories last year, but I could not find the Bay Guardian link, hence the link from only one of the many web sites that mention it.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] I'd like to quote an excerpt from Bill Bryson's latest book Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid to give a little sense of why some of us see the whole poison-first approach as negligent (after the same type of behavior has been repeated in so many subsequent and sadly disastrous ways): "As many as four nuclear detonations a month were conducted in Nevada in the peak years. The mushroom clouds were visible from any parking lot in the city... . Radioactive dust often drifted across Las Vegas, leaving a visible coating on every horizontal surface. After some early tests, government technicians in white lab coats went through the city running Geiger counters over everything. People lined up to see how radioactive they were. It was all part of the fun."

(To head off John, Bryson earned the Aventis Prize for his last book before this.)

When I was a kid, shoe stores used x-rays to measure your feet! People got x-rayed just because it was exciting. My father (PhD, technical field, still a respected professor) wouldn't let us do this because he felt there was enough evidence at the time that this was not a good thing to do. People were so excited about radiation then, and lacking the many experiences we've had since then of things that were supposed to be safe but proved not to be, people like John would have with better reason called him a luddite for that.

With my chemistry and engineering background, I take the same reasoned approach as my father. I just think in this situation, in that ecosystem, on a schoolground, next to a recreation area used by small kids and families, using an herbicide over such a large area was an unwise and short-sighted thing to do, when there were completely non-toxic alternatives that could have been made less expensive than poison had some thought been put into it. Or someone else had been in charge who thinks about managing things differently (as the EPA recommends for schools): non-toxic methods first when they are available, as they were here.



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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 24, 2007 at 11:03 am

Thank you, John, for finally talking about the situation (in your response to Martha).

Yes, the hillside was always cleared in the past when the weeds got dry and was not a fire danger in the summer.


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Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 24, 2007 at 2:14 pm

Anonymous,

When I was a kid DDT was banned. There were many alarmist statements about the "Damn Deadly Toxin". It was known at the time that there was no established toxicity in humans, but that didn't matter. Everything from fetal abnormalities to baldness were being blamed on DDT by the luddites. Many of the people who, hysterically, got DDT banned are strangely silent about the millions of African kids who have unnecessarily died from Malaria, because their governments were forced to ban DDT. Indeed, ludditism can be deadly!

Your continued use of the word 'poison', without mentioning realistic doses, is propagandistic. Water is a poison, too, if the does is high enough.

What will your strategy be to collect $50k each year to hire another FTE for the school district to remove weeds without using herbicides? That would be 5 million pennies.


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Posted by theopaul
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 24, 2007 at 2:15 pm

Following up on Martha's comments, it might be mentioned that Bol Park is one of the most beautiful parks in town, and the fields of Gunn Highschool, with there accompanying oak trees, are also quite spectacular, and in between these two places lies the dead zone, a region that offers a strark contrast to the surrounding environs. There is also an old creek in the nearby area that hasn't been paved over like some of the other creeks in town. Simply put, with a little effort this entire region could easily be one of the nicest places in palo alto for people (and other living creatures) to be.


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Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 24, 2007 at 4:34 pm

Theopual,

Is the lawn at Bol Park fertilized with synthetic fertilizers? If so, there is likely to be heavy metal contamination. Has it been tested? Heavy metals ARE a human toxicity concern, because they accumulate. If tests have not been run, the safe approach would be to eliminate the fertilizers (if used). The grass will suffer (possibly die), but the kids would be safer.

BTW, shouldn't the luddites be concerned about flouridated water supplies? There is a ton of hysterical toxicity claims made about that practice. My kids have never had a cavity, so I like fluoridation. Should PAUSD be forced to use only non-fluoridated water?


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 24, 2007 at 5:07 pm

John,
DDT was banned in the developed world, where it was originally majority used in agriculture, not primarily vector control, though it certainly was an aid in North and South America in reducing malaria (which is disputed, but I believe it is probably true). It's overuse in agriculture was already leading to resistance problems.

It was NEVER BANNED in the developing world and is used TO THIS DAY for vector control in a number of third world countries. One of the biggest reasons the strategy with DDT was changed in Africa had to do with resistance developing among vectors (something that comes about from overuse). Another had to do with money -- including that large scale DDT spraying is more expensive than measures that are now used, such as the use of DDT indoors. In Africa, malarial vectors have a continuous life cycle, so the problem of eliminating the mosquitos is much bigger than in our country, and they don't get the benefit of the public health measure that we got, which were responsible for eliminating the majority of the problem. (In El Salvador, malaria actually increased at the height of DDT use.)

If money were not such a huge constraint in many African nations today, malaria could be controlled through a range of public health measures as we did here in this country.

Perhaps when you make these alarmist claims about DDT and malaria, you have been reading a little too much Michael Crichton, who is the one pretty much claiming that banning DDT in the first world has caused all these deaths (also known for his twisted book about there being no such thing as man contributing to global warming). It doesn't follow though, we banned DDT here and didn't see malaria come back; DDT is not banned in Africa today, yet they have malaria. It's a much more complex problem than your worldview on poison allows, John.

It really doesn't have to be the EITHER/OR situations you are setting up. There's a really good book called Plague Time, by biology professor Paul Ewald that discusses infectious disease from basic biological principles, and how certain kinds of approaches are guaranteeing virulence in vectors. (I promise, you won't think he's a hysterical luddite, it's not a book about poison.) I really doubt you will read it since I recommended it, but I hope you will consider it because it might add another dimension to your worldview (which you won't have to change, just expand). You might find the section on malaria enlightening.

The EPA classifies Roundup as a poison, it does not classify water as a poison. Now who is being hysterical? What is wrong with calling a poisonous herbicide a poison? You're the one who loves poison so much, why are you so afraid of the word?

Those acres were never a problem to clear in a non-toxic way in the past, including the last three years when we had significantly more rain than this last winter, and late rains when it was warm to boot. Perhaps the district's prohibiting the farmer who used to graze his sheep and goats (for free) on that acreage made for more weeds this year, even though we have had considerably less rain. (This situation probably also artificially boosted the cost saving stats.)

I am getting together with some concerned parents and offering the district to help out with that hillside. I am also willing to look at the problem of weed control as a whole, and how to make smart pest management the first choice in a more economical way than using poison.


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Posted by Barron Park Resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 24, 2007 at 5:27 pm

The area in question is school district property. I heard that one of the possible uses for the land would be to create more atheltic field space for the school and the community. If a field were put in there it would eliminate the need for any spraying for weeds and would create a create a nice greenbelt from Bol Park through Gunn.


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Posted by theopaul
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 24, 2007 at 6:06 pm

John, I don't know the answer to your questions in regards to the use of fertilizers and heavy metals. Perhaps somebody esle with more knowledge in this regard might be able to do so. If this is the case, as you suggest it might be, then perhaps we could come up with some more environmentally freindly measures in this regard as well. However, if this is the case, as you suggest, does that mean that we should continue poisoning the two acre parcel that has been the focus of this discussion? I realize that there are many areas for improvement in regards to being stewards of the environment, and that this region is one of millions of parcels of land that could use some tender love and care. However, we have to start somewhere, and this seems like a good place since it is part of the local community.

I might also add that the folks who handle the grounds of stanford university have made some leaps and bounds in regards to using more eco freindly measures in regards to weed abatement and other environmental isssues. Perhaps we could learn from them, since they like to share their knowledge and expertise. Does anyone know these folks? Just an idea. Thanks for your efforts to everybody who has contributed to this ongoing discussion.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 24, 2007 at 6:29 pm

John has clearly never been in this neighborhood, didn't know how accurate the "savings" claim was, never saw the sprayed site (clearly now, he didn't even see it before the poison was applied). [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] He can't supply any good facts, so now he's off on rants about fluoridated water and fertilizers, which have zero to do with this topic.

Notice that I've supplied virtually all the facts, all the the links, all the objective information. I have suggested several times the reasonable and simple ways that I and others in the school community could have responded to make the problem a non-issue had we been notified of this action in advance. Every time I bring up one he can't argue with, he just ignores it completely and doesn't respond, but attacks me for something else in his same fringe way. And he complains that it's hard to get anything done in this town.

This is my broader neighborhood, my local school, my family's main recreation and exercise area, my friends' yards, my local park, the local creek where my child and neighborhood children play. I think the spraying was short-sighted, did a disservice to the community, probably didn't save as much money as claimed (because of the previously cited reasons, and it wasn't a vast amount of money to begin with), made the whole area incredibly ugly, was a bad example for kids, likely endangered the wildlife in the creek, and terrestrial amphibians nearby, specifically frogs and amphibians that multiply in puddles -- probably in some of the many puddles and water areas on the edges of the sprayed acres in the early spring -- amphibians that controls mosquito larvae, I might add), caused public controversy (and probably exposed the city to more liability than any of the things John complained about), will likely contribute to increased levels of dust in the summer over the bike path given prevailing winds, will probably lead to increased erosion in the fall when the rains return, and unnecessarily exposed kids to a pesticide when there were completely safe non-toxic alternatives.

I really didn't want to turn this into a debate about Roundup, because I actually thought it was safer than I do now since doing more reading, thanks to John. It just wasn't close to being the smartest way to manage that land.


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Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 24, 2007 at 7:38 pm

Anonymous,

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

1. I used to live in Barron Park, and I have probably traveled the trail through it about 100 times. I know the neighborhood.

2. Roundup is not a poison to people or wildlife, when used as directed. You have failed to produce ANY convincing evidence that it is.

3. There have been HUNDREDS of studies done on the toxicity of Roundup. That is why several environmental groups recommend its use in sensitive areas to kill unwanted plants (including the Galapagos Islands). These studies are not countered by single studies published in luddite journals. I have not provided the individual studies, except one or two examples - that would clutter the picture. Your ideological blinders remind me, indeed, of the anti-fluoridation crowd.

4. I bring up other possible toxicity issues, because they are potentially a lot more serious than Roundup. Heavy metals in synthetic fertilizers ARE a real issue. Roundup is not.

5. DDT was effectively banned in Africa, due to onerous regulation and implied threats from donor countries. South Africa has finally decided to use DDT, while neighboring countries are still too afraid to do so. Millions of kids have died unnecessarily. Here is just one link to the basic story (there are other similar reports available from BBC and others)

Web Link

You have used cigarette smoking as an analogy to the Roundup story, but I think DDT and flouridation are better examples, in opposite ways: Flouriddation is government approved, effective and safe (like Roundup); DDT was banned by government, even though it was not toxic to people, and its banning cost millions of lives...this is an example of luddite extremism. Smoking was declared dangerous by the government about 40 years ago, and the cigarette companies tried to deny this warning - how is this similar to the Roundup story?

If Roundup is causing you this degree of heartburn, how can you possibly cope with the toxins in the paints that are spread on our schools buildings? How about the toxics that are in asphalt in the parking lots? The fertilizers used to keep the lawns green?


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 24, 2007 at 9:31 pm

John,
For heaven's sake, you're having an argument with someone else, not me. I don't have any problem with fluoridation, I think it's a good thing. You're setting up some kind of straw man and arguing some ideology that has apparently been an issue in your life for some time.

The smoking analogy is relevant -- no matter what concerns anyone had about smoking, there were always angry smokers calling anti-smokers names, (never listening to the studies that suggested dangers to others through second hand smoke), just like you are now. Exact same thing. There was never any way to have any common ground, just like now.

This discussion for me is about that hillside. I'm not going to go any further with the DDT discussion because I'm not interested, it's not relevant to the hillside, and you haven't read any of the information I sent about the discussion on hand anyway (or you would understand that Roundup, properly applied, does pose threats that weren't studied originally). These are published by real researchers in real journals, and I've given links to just a few. There are many more. The country of Australia made a decision to make Monsanto change their formula and remove the detergent in Roundup because of a weight of significant evidence, not just because of "luddite extremism."

I haven't argued that Roundup isn't useful, under the right circumstances. As I've said before in this discussion, I'm not calling for a ban on it, either. I think I've said, more than once, that it is a safer herbicide than any other on the market, even with all caveats. You have set up this extreme straw man because I disagree with you in this instance -- me because of the specific situation, you because of your ideology.

Because of my science and engineering background, I think consequentially -- that when you have a choice to use two things around kids, and one is non-toxic, and the other has credible evidence of toxicity (or even legitimate questions of it), and the way we do things historicaly with toxic substances is to figure out what problems they cause mainly after-market, it's just smarter to choose the non-toxic way around our kids.

A herbicide was neither necessary, nor the most prudent move in this situation, for the many reasons stated above and more.

If you were so familiar with this area, then you would have known how the hillside was being managed in recent years past. Your experience years ago isn't relevant. Read what i wrote before you start punching the straw man again.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 24, 2007 at 9:31 pm

John,
For heaven's sake, you're having an argument with someone else, not me. I don't have any problem with fluoridation, I think it's a good thing. You're setting up some kind of straw man and arguing some ideology that has apparently been an issue in your life for some time.

The smoking analogy is relevant -- no matter what concerns anyone had about smoking, there were always angry smokers calling anti-smokers names, (never listening to the studies that suggested dangers to others through second hand smoke), just like you are now. Exact same thing. There was never any way to have any common ground, just like now.

This discussion for me is about that hillside. I'm not going to go any further with the DDT discussion because I'm not interested, it's not relevant to the hillside, and you haven't read any of the information I sent about the discussion on hand anyway (or you would understand that Roundup, properly applied, does pose threats that weren't studied originally). These are published by real researchers in real journals, and I've given links to just a few. There are many more. The country of Australia made a decision to make Monsanto change their formula and remove the detergent in Roundup because of a weight of significant evidence, not just because of "luddite extremism."

I haven't argued that Roundup isn't useful, under the right circumstances. As I've said before in this discussion, I'm not calling for a ban on it, either. I think I've said, more than once, that it is a safer herbicide than any other on the market, even with all caveats. You have set up this extreme straw man because I disagree with you in this instance -- me because of the specific situation, you because of your ideology.

Because of my science and engineering background, I think consequentially -- that when you have a choice to use two things around kids, and one is non-toxic, and the other has credible evidence of toxicity (or even legitimate questions of it), and the way we do things historicaly with toxic substances is to figure out what problems they cause mainly after-market, it's just smarter to choose the non-toxic way around our kids.

A herbicide was neither necessary, nor the most prudent move in this situation, for the many reasons stated above and more.

If you were so familiar with this area, then you would have known how the hillside was being managed in recent years past. Your experience years ago isn't relevant. Read what i wrote before you start punching the straw man again.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 25, 2007 at 1:08 am

To the Weekly Staff,
I have not been happy to have been left to John's name-calling, and I took the bait with a tone I don't usually use in such discussion. But if you are going to censor a debate like this in such a significant way, could you please step in earier? Now that so much has been written, I think it hurts the debate to have so much deleted. With what has been written, I would frankly have preferred that readers see John's many insults (with my actual responses) because readers could see why I responded that way. They could develop a picture of John from those insults. I've already been called them and they have been aired for days for the majority of the people who were reading -- why delete them now?!!!


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Posted by Joshie
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 18, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Thanks for the information. I have been wanting to see if we could do more of a community website for people to see what is going on in our neighborhoods and what everyone is doing outside of it. I love to see where there are places that people can see what is going on, who needs help and what we can do to assist one another. That is just my thoughts. www.jwh018free.com


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