Stop Valencia's Bridgeport HOA from Spraying Toxic Herbicides in Our Community
Please sign this petition to encourage our HOA, Board of Directors, and Gothic Landscaping to do what’s right and stop spraying TOXIC, cancer-causing herbicides in our beautiful community..
As residents and homeowners at Bridgeport, we are shocked and dismayed at the Board of Directors' relentless efforts to spray toxic herbicides - including glyphosate - in our community.
After a petition was apparently filed in August 2018 and submitted to Valencia Management Group and the Bridgeport Board of Directors, both parties chose to conult with legal counsel on the issue rather than adopt safer gardening practices. Then, in December 2018, the Board of Directors met privately and made the decision to continue using these toxic herbicide products anyway - against the wishes of several members of the community.
After being given one week's notice that spraying would commence on January 28, 2019, several residents have again expressed their concerns to Valencia Management Group and to the Board of Directors -- without any response from VMG other than to advise residents to attend the next Board Meeting on February 13th, over 2.5 weeks after spraying will recommence.
In a letter to Bridgeport residents, VMG's legal counsel SwedelsonGottlieb wrote: "The Board appreciates feedback from the Association’s members and...has decided...to email homeowners and post on the clubhouse bulletin board the Association’s monthly schedule for when Roundup will be used, so that all homeowners can schedule accordingly. The Board is under no obligation to suspend the use of Roundup."
Unfortunately, the health effects of these toxic and carcinogenic herbicides do not allow young children, pets, and adults living at Bridgeport or walking through the neighborhood or going to the school to "schedule accordingly". This is unfortunately useless since glyphosate is a CARCINOGEN - it can cause cancer. How can we "schedule accordingly" when we are being UNNECESSARILY exposed to toxic, cancer-causing chemicals?
We urge the Board of Directors and Valencia Management Group to HALT using these products immediately, and transition to using SAFER weed killers that are not carcinogenic. There are a NUMBER of safer herbicides that can be used in place of glyphosate based herbicides: https://iusd.org/sites/default/files/iusd_2018-2019_pesticide-herbacide_list.pdf
In fact, you may be surprised to learn that of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides, 19 are linked with cancer or carcinogenicity, 13 are linked with birth defects, 21 with reproductive effects, 26 with liver or kidney damage, 15 with neurotoxicity, and 11 with disruption of the endocrine (hormonal) system. In March 2015, the World Health Organization declared that glyphosate, the active ingredient in RoundUp and Ranger Pro, probably causes cancer in humans.
Last year, the manufacturer of RoundUp was ordered to pay $289 million in damages in its first-ever (and unlikely to be its last) cancer trial.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that there is no safe level of pesticide exposure for children.
In March 2017, a California Superior Court judge ruled that the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) was legally in the clear to add glyphosate to its list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer under Proposition 65, forcing Monsanto to add a cancer warning label to the same pesticide you are allowing to be used where our children play and live.
Setting aside public health considerations, is our HOA prepared for the potential financial and legal liabilities related to distributing a known carcinogen within our community, particularly when this is to be done for purely cosmetic reasons?
Dandelions do not cause cancer, but glyphosate can.
Children are especially vulnerable to pesticide exposure as they take in more pesticides relative to their body weight, are more physical in their environment and their bodies are still developing. Pets and vulnerable populations such as the elderly are also particularly at risk.
It should be a basic human right for children to be protected from toxic pesticides where they play, live, and go to school. Especially when the exposure to these toxic pesticides is happening for purely cosmetic reason (weed abatement).
Recognizing these risks, on Feb. 23, 2016, the Irvine City Council unanimously approved an organic landscaping policy. The beautiful City of Irvine has demonstrated that you can have beautiful parks, playing fields and open space that meet community expectations without the use of toxic pesticides, and has successfully maintained all pest pressure from weeds to rodents organically for more than 570 acres of community and neighborhood parks and athletic fields; over 800 acres of public right-of-way, including street medians and parkways, 70,000 plus trees; and nearly 1.5 million square feet of facilities, and over 6,000 acres of dedicated open space.
“Impacts from multiple chemicals may simply add up, amplify one another's effects,” - David Bellinger, professor of neurology, Harvard Medical School
"By allowing children to be exposed to toxins or chemicals of unknown toxicity, we are unwittingly using our children in a massive experiment," - Non Toxic Advisor, Dr. Bruce Lanphear, MD, MPH Professor and Director of Children’s Health and Environmental Health
“The major challenge with showing that a chemical causes cancer in humans [as opposed to animals] is that the cancer typically develops many years after exposure.” - Dr. Bruce Blumberg, PhD. UCI Professor of Developmental and Cell Biology, and Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Many HOAs in Southern California have now switched to organic landscape maintenance practices. As awareness to the negative health impacts increase, residents understand the enormous benefits and importance to move to safe landscaping practices.
Here is a cost comparison report that shows the cost of organic landscaping is actually lower than conventional over a 5-year term. One reason for the lower cost is that less water is needed when employing these methods.
As you can see, RoundUp is a dangerous and unacceptable product to use in our beautiful community at Bridgeport. Additionally, it is completely unnecessary and there are several safe alternatives if an herbicide is deemed necessary.
Below are some additional resources explaining some of the basics of organic landscaping products and practices.
Pesticides and HOAs:
Davis-Stirling on Fiduciary Duty:
A duty to act for someone else's benefit, while subordinating one's personal interest to that of the other person. It is the highest standard of duty implied by law (e.g., trustee, guardian). -Black's Law Dictionary
Organic turf management is less expensive in the long-run and uses 80% less water by eliminating soil compaction caused by pesticides, which makes the soil spongier and better able to absorb water. Organic landscaping also builds the biodiversity of the soil, making desired plants healthier and better able to resist weeds. For a detailed cost comparison, seehttp://www.grassrootsinfo.org/pdf/turfcomparisonreport.pdf
In February 2016, the Irvine City Council unanimously approved using organic pesticides and herbicides on all city maintained landscaping, including at parks, athletic fields and public buildings. The amended Integrated Pest Management Policy prioritizes use of organic compounds in pesticides and herbicides over products based on synthetic chemicals.
In Irvine, as well as many other cities in Southetn California and nationwide, many HOAs have successfully switched to organic landscaping practices to protect families and residents from the same toxic pesticides the City of Irvine and Irvine Unified School District already banned. There are so options now to successfully control weed pressure from manual removal (weed-whackers), organic herbicides, compost top-dressing, appropriate turf height maintenance and other organic cultural practices to maintain the parks, greenbelts and other landscaping features. The switch to these safe landscaping practices protect families, pets and our environment from further exposure to toxic pesticides while maintaining aesthetics.
Harvard University has successfully used organic landscaping on its landscapes and hardscapes since 2008. Seehttp://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/24/garden/24garden.html?_r=1 andhttp://www.energyandfacilities.harvard.edu/facilities-services/landscape-maintenance
Pesticides and disease:
Pesticides harm human health, of the 30 most commonly used lawn pesticides, 19 are linked with cancer or carcinogenicity, 13 are linked with birth defects, 21 with reproductive effects, 26 with liver or kidney damage, 15 with neurotoxicity, and 11 with disruption of the endocrine (hormonal) system. See Health Effects of 30 commonly used pesticides fact sheet http://www.beyondpesticides.org/assets/media/documents/lawn/factsheets/30health.pdf
Children are more vulnerable:
Children are especially sensitive to pesticide exposure as they have more hand-to-mouth behaviors, take in more pesticides relative to their body weight, their organ systems are still developing, and they are unable to effectively process and excrete pesticide metabolites. See Children and Pesticides Don’t Mix fact sheet -http://www.beyondpesticides.org/assets/media/documents/lawn/factsheets/Pesticide.children.dontmix.pdf
EPA registration does not guarantee safety:
Any pesticide legally used in this country must be registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This registration does not constitute an approval rating or safety claim of any sort -- nor does it guarantee that the chemicals have been fully tested for environmental and human health effects.
In the U.S., our main chemical safety law - the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) - makes it nearly impossible for the EPA to take action against dangerous chemicals, even those that are known to cause cancer and other diseases. Its weaknesses have allowed chemical companies to thwart EPA attempts to regulate chemicals -- sometimes for decades.
A child in a household using home and garden pesticides is 6.5 times more likely to develop leukemia than in a home that does not. Obviously, EPA approval is not a guarantee of safety; in fact, EPA believes that no pesticide can ever be considered perfectly "safe." See
Pesticides drift from the application site and into homes:
Scientific studies show that 2,4-D applied to lawns drifts and is tracked indoors where it settles in dust, air, countertops and surfaces and may remain for up to a year in indoor carpet fibers. See “Measuring lawn transport of lawn-applied herbicide acids from turf...” Env Science Technology, and“Distribution of 2,4-D in Air and on Surfaces Inside Residences...” Environmental Health Perspectives.
“After they are applied, many pesticides volatilize into the lower atmosphere, a process that can continue for days, weeks, or months after the application, depending on the compound. In addition, pesticides can become airborne attached to wind-blown dust.” - U.S. Geological Survey report. (Majewski , M., et al. 2001. “Diazinon and Chlorpyrifos Loads in Precipitation and Urban and Agricultural Storm Runoff during January and February 2001 in the San Joaquin River Basin, California.” U.S. Geological Survey.)
“The major challenge with showing that a chemical causes cancer in humans [as opposed to animals] is that the cancer typically develops many years after exposure.” - Non Toxic Neighborhoods advisor, Dr. Bruce Blumberg, PhD. UCI Professor of Developmental and Cell Biology, and Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Pesticides do not suddenly become safe after application:
Pesticide residues will remain on the grass even if it is dry. While inhalation and dermal exposures are considered major routes of exposure for lawn pesticides, very few studies have been done to determine the health effects of such exposures.