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Petition Drive Launched to Protect East Bay From City Use of Pesticides

Friday, February 4 2005

Sign on-line petition asking Oakland city council to not apply pesticides in the parks or anywhere else in Oakland

Pro-Safety/Anti-Pesticide Coalition Supporters

Visit web-site of sponsoring organization


For Specific Information About Alternatives to Toxic Pesticides - see Steve Tvedten's

Free download of Steve Tvedten's book on alternatives to toxic pesticides

Roadside photos of CALTRANS herbicide use


Herbicide Use to be Considered by City of Oakland

Intersection at Grizzly Peak

(photo: Paul Goettlich,

Update: Resolution will be considered on Tuesday February 22
Oakland City Hall, Hearing Room 1
12:30 pm City's Public Works Committee

4:00 pm Public Safety Committee (was 7:30!)
Public participation (bodies) urgently needed.

Write letters to the editor and to the city council Please cc: east bay pesticide alert (

Transcript of 2-8-05 KPFA newscast segment on Oakland's considering another exemption to pesticide ban - with notes and clarification

Letter to Oakland City Council from Caroline Cox, staff scientist for NCAP Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides)

Text of Letter to Oakland Tribune from Maxina Ventura, East Bay Pesticide Alert

Pesticide Danger

In 1997 Oakland banned the use of pesticides on city-owned property. Since then, median strips and playing field construction have been exempted. Now there's a push to employ herbicides in the hills, specifically Glyphosate (Roundup) and Triclopyr (Garlon). The resolution will be presented to various city committees on Tuesday, February 22 at 12:30 and 4:30 pm, Hearing Room 1, City Hall. We urge people to speak up for alternatives to renewed dependence on toxics, the same old Monsanto snake oil. After pesticides have been applied, goat-herders wait over a year before they'll let goats graze. Let's not climb the toxic treadmill. Make weeding community service instead..

Recently, City Council Member Jean Quan and the Wildfire Prevention Assessment District held a meeting at City Hall to discuss this latest roll-back. Presenters included: Tom Klatt (UC Berkeley Office of Emergency Preparedness); Nancy Brownfield (IPM specialist, East Bay Regional Parks), representatives from East Bay MUD, and a former president of the California Plant Society. No organization identifying pesticides as poisons was allowed to make a presentation.

I knew we were in for a ride when the Plant Society man asserted, "We need chemicals as one tool in our cannot do it without it," boasting he's been using pesticides for five decades. He doesn't know how privileged he is. At 77, he's of the last generation grown in his mother's womb, living his delicate years without toxic pesticides.

East Bay Pesticide Alert gave panelists and attendees toxicological profiles full of authoritative references. Unfortunately, panelists ignored these profiles. Instead, they parroted words originating with chemical companies: small quantity; least toxic; minimal risk; reasonable; proper; limited; judicious; careful. Now imagine a child in the ER, gasping for air due to pesticide drift; hikers tracking residues home to pets; wild animals dying brutal chemical deaths; native plants dying, inviting non-natives to take over -- the bleak reality of pesticide use.

Pesticide manufacturers want to focus the public's attention on their products' so-called "active" ingredients. But we also need to look at the so-called "inert" ingredients, and the break-down products of both, the metabolites. For instance, a surfactant added to Roundup, POEA, is routinely contaminated in manufacturing by the carcinogen dioxane. One of Roundup's metabolites is formaldehyde, another carcinogen. Triclopyr breaks down into TCP. In lab tests, TCP exposures as small as 0.2 parts per million inhibited the growth of neurons. And TCP appears to accumulate in fetal brain tissue. Tumors in rats and mice, kidney problems in dogs, the list goes on and on (see links to profiles on

But you wouldn't know this from listening to Nancy Brownfield, who just goes by the labels. No wonder every ranger I talk to is agitated by her forcing pesticide use in the Regional Parks.

Proponents of herbicide use say we must poison the environment in order to save it. But soil health is key to getting rid of fire-welcoming non-natives. Mycorrhizal fungi colonize about the roots of native plants, funneling them nutrients, while starving non-natives of nutrition, tying off the tumor, so to speak. But herbicides inhibit this crucial work. Pesticides are not the answer.

Information is available. No compromising around health! Stop toxic pesticide use.

Maxina Ventura, Chronic Effects Researcher, East Bay Pesticide Alert, 510-895-2312


.(text of January 26, 2005 Indymedia article by East Bay Pesticide Alert)

Join East Bay Pesticide Alert and Stop Toxic Trespass to demand non-toxic methods only. Wednesday, January 26, 2005, at Oakland City Hall (12th and Broadway, right by 12th St. BART), in Hearing Room 4, at 7 pm.

Oakland is being pressured to use pesticides on city-owned property in the wildfire prevention district. Many do not understand that pesticides sicken and even kill.

Monsanto (with UC contracts) has confused people for years. They talk about the active0 ingredient of Roundup but not the detrimental effects of inerts, which donít have to be disclosed or tested before registration. A surfactant added to Roundup, (POEA), is contaminated by 1,4 dioxane during manufacturing. It is a carcinogen, under Prop. 65. Formaldehyde is a breakdown product of the active ingredient, Glyphosate. Both Glyphosate and Triclopyr (active ingredient in Garlon 4) inhibit the work of mycorrhizal fungi, which help plants with nutrient uptake. Roundup is associated with skin; eye; systemic and acute respiratory illnesses; inhibiting detoxification of chemicals in the body; possible adverse cancer effects; tumors; causes gene mutations; is a reproductive toxicant; is toxic to fish and aquatic organisms; inhibits mycorrhizal fungi; is highly persistent in soil. Garlon 4 is associated with weakness; decreased coordination; respiratory problems; tremors; kidney damage, decreased hemoglobin, fewer red blood cells, and liver damage in rats; reproductive problems including skeletal deformities; tadpoles lose their avoidance response needed to escape prey; toxicity to beneficial spider mites; Triclopyr-treated trees about twice as likely as untreated trees to be damaged by the tip moth whose damage increases risk for fusiform rust, a pine disease; genetic damage to plants; inhibiting mycorrhizal fungi; reduction in moss and lichen diversity; EPA calls it very mobile in soil, with the potential to leach into groundwater (lack of studies comes into play, often the case); contaminates rivers and streams (USGS study of urban watersheds near Seattle, found Triclopyr in 90 percent of the sites sampled); the breakdown product TCP especially hazardous to kids inhibiting neurons from normal growth and disrupts mitochondria. Imazapyr, the active ingredient in the product Stalker, is corrosive to eyes and can cause irreversible damage; it causes skin problems; in lab studies fluids found in lungs, kidney cysts, abnormal blood formation in the spleen, and increases in thyroid and brain cancers, and increased tumors and cancers of the adrenal gland; a study showed it to be more mobile in soil than Atrazine (water contaminant). Remember suppression of UC Prof. Tyrone Hayesí research regarding Atrazine and toxicity to frogs? In ’92, EPA found that Glyphosate leaches. And EPA has found Triclopyr in wells. Imazapyr, active ingredient in the product, Stalker, is highly persistent in soil, and leaches. In fact, it is slow-acting, with suggestions that you may have to wait up to two years to cut down trees. Leaching threatens endangered plants and animals nearby. Mixing products creates synergism and can cause deadly effects as toxicity is potentiated.

We are living in the middle of a public health crisis already. Lives are at stake. Join East Bay Pesticide Alert and Stop Toxic Trespass to demand non-toxic methods only. Wednesday, January 26, 2005, at Oakland City Hall (12th and Broadway, right by 12th St. BART), in Hearing Room 4, at 7 pm.

Maxina Ventura of East Bay Pesticide Alert

icon from Council Member Jean Quan's website: cheery pesticide sprayer icon: Sprinkle, Sprinkle Little Star

Draft of Proposed Exemptions to Oakland IPM Ordinance

Toxic Profiles of Herbicides used in East Bay Hills

Glyphosate (Roundup & Rodeo) Proposed for use in Oakland, used by UC Berkeley, EBMUD, EBRP

Triclopyr (Garlon 4 & Pathfinder)* Proposed for use in Oakland, used by UC Berkeley, EBMUD, EBRP

Imazapyr (Stalker) * used by UC Berkeley

Clopyralid (Stinger and Reclaim) used by UC Berkeley

*file requires Acrobat Reader