Park District Will Meet About Herbicides Tonight

Residents invited to attend meeting at West Ridge Tuesday.

On Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 7 p.m., the will be holding a community meeting at to discuss the issue of whether or not to . The athletic fields at issue are the entire ,  and West Ridge south field.

Our community has shown support for the adoption and implementation of a long-term organic lawn care plan. More than 600 Highland Park residents have signed an online petition demanding that the Park District of Highland Park use chemical free lawn care. Additionally, at least 70 residents have emailed letters to the Park District expressing concern over the application of herbicides on children's playing fields. The Park District has not received any letters in support of the spraying.

The movement towards organic turf management and away from the use of lawn chemicals has been growing nationally, since herbicides have been linked with childhood cancer; asthma; neurological, behavioral, and immune system disorders; endocrine disruption; and reproductive impairment, among others.

The States of New York, Connecticut and Maine prohibit herbicides on school playgrounds, turf, or athletic fields. New Jersey has similar legislation pending. Approximately 80 percent of Canada, including the provinces of Toronto and Montreal, has banned the use of lawn pesticides because of the harm they pose, particularly to children.

Residents of Arcata, California, recognized that pesticides were dangerous and unnecessary and made a commitment to eliminate pesticides from all city properties. The City of Arcata has been managing all of their parks, sports fields, forests, open space and landscape areas without pesticides for the past 20 years. For their semi-professional baseball team, the Humboldt Crabs, the Park staff created the very first pesticide-free professional baseball field in the United States.

Dan Diemer, Arcata’s Superintendent of Parks, told me, “Families love the idea that their children are not exposed to pesticides and we advertise the fact that our parks and playgrounds are pesticide free. Our community and city council strongly support our maintenance practices and this has been especially evident during this economic downturn and our budget has not been cut.” Additionally, The City of Arcata “considers the safety of our maintenance staff and user groups to be number one priority.” “Our fields are used by Little League, Babe Ruth, American Legion, high schools, College/University, Humboldt Crabs (semi-pro) and we have not received complaints regarding unsafe conditions.“

The children of Highland Park deserve to have their health prioritized above playing field aesthetics. The many examples above demonstrate that athletic fields can be maintained without herbicides which compromise children’s health.

If you share concerns about the spraying of herbicides on children’s playing fields, please attend the October 11, 2011 community meeting at 7 p.m. at West Ridge Center.

Michelle Kramer
Highland Park resident 

John Richards October 11, 2011 at 07:17 PM
Alexa Raye October 12, 2011 at 03:09 AM
You're joking, right?
forest barbieri October 12, 2011 at 04:12 PM
Sorry that I was unable to attend the meeting as I am against the use of herbicides within our Parks that people and particularly children, interact with. It is unfortunate that our Park District, elected by and for the people, seems to disregard the public outcry on this and I can suspect are driven by the same self serving intrests that have put new batting cages on several fields. That is, several members have children in travel baseball, and it is my personal belief that they have field envy after traveling to other fields and seeing clover on our fields. I have children that play Travel Soccer on these same fields and one would think that they could be more affected by field conditions of the dreaded clover et al. Well, it is NOT an issue at all and certainly healthier than fields with herbicides!!! Look, if the Park Board really wants better field for all sports, improve the poor drainage that keeps all of us off the fields too often!
len wolf October 12, 2011 at 09:57 PM
i can't endorse pesticides but as far as herbicides go i would let my horse eat the grass from a field sprayed with 2,4 d, so a kid playing on it especially after it rains? why not?
Amy October 12, 2011 at 10:14 PM
Len, are you really comparing a horse to a child? If you'd been at the meeting last night as I was, you'd have heard that it's not just a simple "one application" and then it's all gone. Beyond the one-time application to the fields, Confront goes into the ground, and goes into our water supply. We don't yet know the long term effects of this pesticide, similar to how we didn't know the long term effects of DDT many years ago. I don't want us to look back 30 years from now and say, "I wish we knew then what we know now." Of the audience last night, there was not one person that spoke out with a GOOD reason to use pesticides. One of the board members asked, "well if we don't use them, then what?" The answer was presented to all of us by an organic turf expert. We do not need to use poison on our fields.
K. Jean Cottam October 13, 2011 at 12:20 AM
Ien wolf is obviously unaware that 2,4-D is the tolerated half of the deadly Agent Orange (of the Viet Nam war fame). 2,4-D's dioxin--a product of manufacturing in the reactor--is only slightly less toxic than the dioxin of Agent Orange's banned half--herbicide 2,4,5-T. Ien wolf is keen to sacrifice his horse for the sake of a misguided bet. And why should you keep your child from playing on the field contaminated by 2,4-D? Because 2,4-D will go directly to his brain, by-passing his liver, the cleansing organ. On a holiday in Costa Rica I met a relatively young American woman who told me her husband was a 2,4-D applicator who on one occasion ate this chemical to prove it was safe. I asked her what became of him. She replied: "He has been dead for many, many years." Bear in mind that an eaten 2,4-D is cleansed by the liver and therefore safer than 2,4-D that is inhaled or absorbed via the skin. Besides, 2,4-D is often combined with herbicides mecoprop and dicamba. A synergistic (reinforcing) effect is expected but not measured, i.e. combinations of herbicides remain untested. Much of the applied herbicide consists of secret, supposedly "inert" additives. What is officially tested is but a very small portion of the final product. Our pesticide examining agencies do not take into account any cumulative exposures to chemicals. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that pesticide applicators will read and apply the vital instructions on the pesticide containers' labels.
Alexa Raye October 13, 2011 at 02:55 AM
There is no reason to use herbicides on our fields. To the point of Mr. Barbieri and field envy for recreational sports, I would assume our elected officials are smart enough to know that that each time their kid plays on a treated field in other communities, he/she is tracking that residue into their home via their shoes, clothing, etc. HP should be a model community for others to envy, not the other way around. Isn't HP recognized as Tree City? The implication of this is that we are a natural eco/environmentally friendly city that values nature. I can't believe in this day and age with what we know in terms of long term effects of toxins that we are even having this conversation. Enough time had been spent on this and much has been said against spraying.I don't recall anyone shouting out "spray our fields so that they look nice and people will want to play and live here". Don't spray and figure out a way to garden and maintain our fields organically. It's time to move on from this.
Michelle Kramer October 13, 2011 at 02:51 PM
Cancer is the number one cause of death in dogs over two years old. 1 out of 3 dogs will get cancer and 50% of those will die. Lymphoma is the most common canine cancer. A 1991 study published in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute found a link between 2, 4-D and malignant lymphoma in dogs and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in people. According to the study, "researchers report that dogs were two times more likely to develop lymphoma if their owners sprayed or sprinkled the 2,4-D herbicide on the lawn four or more times a year. Even with just one application a season, the cancer risk was one-third higher than among dogs whose owners did not use the chemical." (nytimes.com). Purdue University veterinary researchers found that Scottish Terriers exposed to herbicide-treated lawns are four to seven times more likely to get bladder cancer than Scotties who hadn’t been exposed to herbicides. (Purdue.edu). Our fields can be managed safely and beautifully using organic turf management! Highland Park should be proud to be a local leader on this important matter of public health.
K. Jean Cottam October 13, 2011 at 04:33 PM
In late summer of 2002 my ten year-old female mixed-breed dog Trixie was accidentally exposed to PAR III (2,4-D, mecoprop and dicamba) sprayed on my condominium grounds about ten days earlier. I was walking her on a leash on the paved sidewalk, but she suddenly ran onto the turf. Her instantaneous exposure was dermal. Aware of the consequences of this kind of exposure, I kept examining her and soon detected what appeared to be a tiny external tumor. I immediately consulted my veterinarian. Soon Trixie was diagnosed with dermal Canine Malignant Lymphoma (CML) in a veterinary lab in Ontario's town of Guelph. Due to the prompt diagnosis and treatment, Trixie was saved and lived six more years. Meanwhile, I received a frantic fax from a spokesman for the pesticide industry claiming that 2,4-D was safe and my dog couldn't have possibly been a victim of exposure to this herbicide. He insisted the diagnosis was wrong. I knew otherwise.
Michelle Kramer October 13, 2011 at 08:49 PM
Thanks for your thoughtful posts. Your comments are spot on. I encourage you to share your concerns with the Park District Board.
forest barbieri October 13, 2011 at 09:29 PM
Michelle: Believe me the Park Board reads this as I have already had one send me an email. I replied that any board member is welcome to comment on any post and state their position. In fact it would be most interesting to see their position committed to public comment. Opps, forgot, it is politics and nobody wants something in writing to come back during election time. Let's spend the Board energies on fixing the drainage issues on our fields, finalizing the Rosewood Beach issue as well as the long range plan and almost forgot the famous quote, "Mr, Swan and Mr. Harris, if you are listening, we are coming to get our money back." Just say NO to Pesticide and Herbicides!
K. Jean Cottam October 14, 2011 at 01:19 AM
Please note that "pesticides" is a general category including all the "cides". Therefore, it is evident that some commentators do confuse the word "pesticides" with "insecticides". The last sentence of the previous comments should have read: "Just say NO to Insecticides and Herbicides!"
K. Jean Cottam October 14, 2011 at 09:42 PM
William Gathercole produces a preposterous "newsletter", which is being sent to a group of Canadian intellectuals, including myself, against their will. He represents the extremist wing of Canadian pesticide application industry. In his publication he calls his opponents "environmental basterds" (note the spelling) or worse. He maintains pesticides are completely safe and irreplaceable. His credibility and objectivity is in serious doubt. The Canadian PMRA (Pest Management Regulatory Industry) he praises depends on industry-supplied data for their evaluation of pesticides and such data can be withheld from the PMRA. The numerous scientists employed by this agency are overwhelmingly toxicologists (rat specialists). There are very few epidemiologists (human data) specialists. Note that rats have detoxification genes missing in humans.The PMRA doesn't take into account the cumulative exposures to chemicals. As already mentioned, much of the applied herbicide consists of secret, allegedly "inert" additives. What is officially tested is but a very small portion of the final product. Combinations remain untested, even though synergistic (reinforcing) effect is suspected. When pesticides are applied "properly" they nevertheless do sicken and kill! Pesticide prohibitions are especially necessary to protect the wellbeing of young children. Contrary to Gathercole, studies on the toxicity of pesticides do exist. My son's untimely death had absolutely nothing to do with this issue.
K. Jean Cottam October 15, 2011 at 02:31 AM
I apologize for a typographical error I just detected in my comment published on Friday, 4.42 pm and am hereby correcting. PMRA = Pest Management Regulatory Agency.
William H. Gathercole & Norah G October 18, 2011 at 07:11 PM
Cottam is WRONG about « cides ». She IMPLIES that pest control products kill EVERYTHING. This is WRONG ! Pest control products used for turfgrass maintenance SELECTIVELY AND EFFECTIVELY CONTROL pests, but are COMPLETELY SAFE for other non-target organisms ― they DO NOT INJURE TURFGRASSES, and have NO persistence beyond season of use. These products can be USED SAFELY because the amount required to affect human health is SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER than any potential level of exposure. We are exposed daily to numerous examples of man-made and natural substances that may impact human health, but harmless in small doses ( example, low levels of naturally-occurring cyanide in almonds ), and conversely, ordinarily harmless substances that can be deadly if over-consumed ( example, water ). The impact of pest control products on human health is EXTENSIVELY EVALUATED by EPA to ensure that these compounds, like other chemicals, such as prescription drugs and vitamins, are SAFE when directions for use are properly followed. National Organization Responding Against HUJE that seek to harm the Green Space Industry is a NATIONAL NON-PROFIT NON-PARTISAN organization dedicated to representing the work of RESPECTED and HIGHLY-RATED EXPERTS who promote PESTICIDE-REALISM and PESTICIDE-TRUTHS ― scientific research PROVES that pest control products CAUSE NO HARM and can be USED SAFELY. http://pesticidetruths.com/ FOR A FREE E-NEWSLETTER, PLEASE CONTACT US THROUGH THE WEB SITE,
K. Jean Cottam October 19, 2011 at 12:13 AM
Mr. Gathercole is at it again! He never gives up! Neither do I. I didn't say pesticides kill everything. I said "they kill". However, to say that they are safe for non-target organisms is highly misleading. True, pesticides do not harm grass and usually have no persistence beyond the season of use. However, this is not true of say, insecticide called imidacloprid. Its half-life may range from 27 to 730 days, depending on soil type and the presence or absence of ground water. Its final breakdown product is especially toxic. Imidacloprid has been linked to the bee colony collapse disorder. It is an unproven myth that it is "the dose that makes the poison" as argued by the 16th century Paracelsus. After all, we live in the 21st century and should know better. I have seen studies arguing that herbicide 2,4-D is contaminated by dioxin 2,7-DCDD during the process of manufacturing--dioxins are highly toxic even in minute quantities. Industry spokesmen claim dioxins are no longer produced as by-products of manufacturing. EPA scientist's data I have argue otherwise. I am aware of limitations currently imposed on government pesticide evaluating bodies such as the EPA and Canadian PMRA. EPA is currently under an attack; industry is trying to reduce the scope of its operations. Pesticide applicators often ignore directions on the label. Finally, beware of Gathercole's offensive "newsletter" featuring half-naked, mentally challenged young girls.
K. Jean Cottam October 19, 2011 at 01:16 AM
Mr. Gathercole claims his message is "non-partisan." In fact, his message is highly partisan. The experts he relies upon all have some connection with the pesticide application industry. Therefore all of them are partisan and none of them voice independent opinions. He rates them highly but are they truly deserving of our respect? Hardly. So-called "scientific research" came to the rescue of the tobacco industry a few years ago. History repeats itself. Wm Gathercole and his friends are attempting to come to the rescue of the pesticide application industry. Their efforts are doomed to failure eventually, hopefully in the not too distant future. There are frequent references in Gathercole's "newsletter" to Uncle Adolph. Who is Uncle Adolph? Hitler's first name was Adolph. Is there a connection?
K. Jean Cottam October 19, 2011 at 12:29 PM
Wm Gathercole's FON/NORAHG latest "newsletter" is devoted to Park District of Highland Park. It is titled "We are Living in the Dark Age Where Science is Trumped by Internet Rumor, Innuendo, and Fabrication." It claims that the prohibition of pesticides for cosmetic purposes amounts to living in a Dark Age. The obsession with "pure" grass indeed belongs to the Dark Ages. In contrast, some consider white clover as almost a sacred plant--beautiful, long lasting, adding the green (nitrogen) and moisture to the lawn. Global warming has been fabricated, their opponents say. I am surprised they haven't pronounced Earth to be flat, these pesticide prophets belonging to Dark Ages. And, as usual, a half-naked girl. Why don't they include a partially undressed man? Not pretty enough? What has sexism of this kind to do with true science? Absolutely nothing. In fact, including half-naked girls in a supposedly serious discussion absolutely destroys FON/NORAHG's credibility. The crux of the matter is that pesticide promoters are often motivated by financial gain, whereas human/animal health is a primary consideration for their disinterested opponents.
UncleAdolph October 19, 2011 at 03:39 PM
K. Jean Cottam, let it be know that your uncle - Uncle Adolph took care of you when coming to Canada. This is the role I have attempted to play with you, to teach and explain to you the realities of your misguidance's. Adolf Hitler is not of the same. Do you recall your submission to the Canadian Federal Government in 2004 regarding Pesticides? Here is the link: http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/pet_129_e_28856.html Why do you continue to ignore their responses to you, is there a conspiracy here? When discussing Imidacloprid (Merit) for lawn grub control you fail to mention that Quebec, Canada (Hudson). The supposed grandfather of the Cosmetic Pesticide Ban still allows the use of Imidacloprid and Dicamba and has recently announced that 2,4-D can be used safely. You may continue your fearmongering campaign and allow others to use your name to ghost write these fears, but the public will eventually learn of your lies and misinformation. Mr. Gathercole is providing a valuable service to the public by informing them that pesticides are safe, just as any other product when used as directed. Please visit www.pesticidetruths.com for all the facts on pesticide safety. Government document, scientific papers, discredited documents and why they are discredited (e.g. ocfp 2004 report). Hand to mouth contact, rolling around in the lawn and the effects on pregnant women is considered when registering a pesticide in Canada or the USA. UncleAdolph
UncleAdolph October 19, 2011 at 04:00 PM
Quick Links for readers are located here: http://pesticidetruths.com/pesticide-qa-links/ Examples include: http://pesticidetruths.com/2011/05/26/quebec-backs-down-on-24-d-says-it-is-not-harmful-to-humans-fp-comment-financial-post/ http://uncleadolph.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/health-canada-faq-pesticide-spray-drift-in-residential-areas/ http://uncleadolph.blogspot.com/2010/03/questions-and-answers-ontario-college.html http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pest/faq-eng.php#whya http://uncleadolph.blogspot.com/2010/03/glyphosate-roundup-reevaluation-plan.html UncleAdolph
Bryce Robertson October 19, 2011 at 04:58 PM
While I respect Dr. Cottam's research on the matter, this is Highland Park's issue and I think it needs to be decided by Highland Park residents. The debate of the pros and cons of pesticides could go on forever, and there will never be a single study that disproves the rest. So, Mr. Gathercole, can you stop flooding the boards here with advertisements and propaganda? If you want to contribute to the conversation, write a civil comment - not an argument laden with typos and SCREAMING capitals. Here in Highland Park, we don't do that at our meetings and certainly don't (nor should) participate in that online.
K. Jean Cottam October 19, 2011 at 05:17 PM
I do apologize for the unwarranted and shameful intrusion here by Wm Gathercole and Uncle Adolph, unfortunately my fellow Canadians. I have no intention to continue the discussion to the detriment of your community. However, you ought to know that the Quebec ban on the cosmetic use of pesticides, including 2,4-D, is still fully in effect, as it is in Ontario. To satisfy the pertinent chemical company, however, 2,4-D is deemed to be safe when used as directed. Nevertheless, its urban use is not allowed.
forest barbieri October 19, 2011 at 05:29 PM
Ok, my final word is that I am against the use of any "cide" on the Park Grounds that my children play on. Some of you may need to get a life and some of you definately need to spend more time focused on your own city or countries issues eh:)
UncleAdolph October 19, 2011 at 07:01 PM
Please read the links provided, do not rely on myself, Beyond Pesticides - Chip Osborne or SafeLawns - Paul Tukey to base your decisions on. The information provided is from Expert Toxicologists and Expert Epidemiologists, people who's actual job is to evaluate pesticide safety. Not by self interest groups like the Canadian Cancer Society, Organic Industry members, the Chemical Industry or KJ Cottam, Doctor (PhD) of War History or Gideon Forman - Doctor (PhD) of Creative Writing. Teach your children how to use the Internet as a genuine research tool, not a way to twitter misinformation to their friends. Be aware that there are no effective Organic or Natural alternatives (including FeHEDTA) to these pesticides that are claimed to be dangerous. If there were effective options do you think people would be wasting their time fighting over this issue? Thank you for Listening and good luck in your communities decisions. UncleAdolph
K. Jean Cottam October 19, 2011 at 09:16 PM
The nerve of Uncle Adolph! A military historian and intelligence analyst, I devoted approximately the last dozen years of my life to research and writing about pesticides. Thus I am not a self-interested pesticide peddler in the manner of Uncle Adolph's "expert" toxicologists are! White is black and black is white. Canadian Cancer Society, among other organizations and individuals, is supposedly self-interested--of course, it is and its self-interest consists of effectively fighting environmental, non-hereditary cancer. As to the organic industry it is providing us with healthier food. It deserves support, rather than ridicule. I know I am not popular with pesticide promoters who have invented mythical ghost writers to supposedly assist me. By the way, I met Paul Tukey in person when he paid a visit to the University of Ottawa to show his ground-breaking film. The film is truly worth seeing and many communities in the United States have seen it. It is about the city of Hudson located near Montreal, where the very first Canadian pesticide ban for cosmetic purposes originated. The pesticide applicators sued and lost their case, which went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.
K. Jean Cottam October 19, 2011 at 10:00 PM
This is a correction to the second sentence above which should read: "Thus I am not a self-interested pesticide peddler in the manner of Uncle Adolph's "expert" toxicologists!" (The "are" is redundant--I apologize.)
Sangeet Singh-Gasson October 21, 2011 at 06:42 PM
There is a new article on the Patch summarizing the issues surrounding the Park District's proposed spraying of the herbicide confront. http://patch.com/N-cB9V
K. Jean Cottam October 25, 2011 at 09:52 AM
Please ignore any submissions from FON/NORANG, the Canadian extremists group. Their credibility is NIL.


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