Unknown-17Monday, June 18/12 delegation to Abbotsford City Council:

Gerda Peachey – Chemical pesticides for cosmetic purposes on publicly-owned lands in Abbotsford

I took pictures of the labels on Roundup. The ‘guarantee’ list begins with glyphosate. And I know the warning, “Keep out of reach of children”, means don’t let kids get hold of the container, as that would be extremely dangerous, but…….hey, keep out of reach of children should be a good warning about the lavish use of this stuff on every school I checked. To date those are: Sir Thomas Swift, Abbotsford Virtual School, Alexander Elementary, North Poplar, Dormick Park, Abbotsford Middle, Abbotsford Traditional, Jackson Elementary, Harry Sayers, Euguene Reimer, Rick Hansen High, and Ten Broek Elementary.

All those yards serve as parks after school ends for the day. Will send you a couple of quotes from Health Canada.

“For most pesticides, although
the Agency has some information in its files that may turn out to be helpful in eventually determining whether a pesticide shares a common mechanism of toxicity with any other substances, EPA does not at this time have the methodologies to resolve the complex scientific issues concerning common mechanism of toxicity in a meaningful way.”

From the literature I have read on the question of ‘cosmetic pesticide use’, I gather that a City decision would not be binding on the Abbotsford School premises.

Nonetheless, were Council to determine that such a ban was the right thing to do, that would show leadership our local Board of Education might be inclined to follow.

I looked at many school yards, this past month and get the impression that none would be exempt from the application of ‘Roundup’ and ‘Casoron’.

Educators often speak about the astonishing increase in signs of stress that are showing up in ever younger students. While life is complex, there is a growing awareness of how the bombardment of chemicals all around us can interact negatively with our overall health and well- being.

Children in Abbotsford have a high incidence of asthma, something my grandson has been hospitalized for a few times.

Students in Abbotsford are being exposed to unnecessary hazardous chemicals on their playgrounds. People try to fight against Roundup in many places, but the Monsanto company is very powerful.

I asked at Rona, but they no longer carry it. The fellow I spoke with had very strong views, as to his approval of the decision to no longer sell it. The labels are from Roundup at Canadian Tire.

Some glyphosate end-use products (non “homeowner” uses only) are in Toxicity Categories I

and II for dermal and eye irritation and have been associated with illness or injuries related to

skin or eye irritation. Under the protective clothing requirements of the Worker Protection

Standards (WPS), handlers of these products are expected to be adequately protected……….

The technical arguments about the impact of Roundup are numerous, so I will not include much on that aspect, except to speak about Roundup being an organophosphate.

Dr. Brian Upper, a vetrinarian, was one of my instructors at UCFV. Dr. Upper, just one year out of grad school, was called to help a farmer in Rosedale, BC. The farmer had a heifer displaying a mysterious illness. Then it was another heifer, and more and more. They were all losing the strength in their hind quarters.

BC Hydro had just conducted a controlled release on the BC Gas pipeline the previous week, but when asked about the cows – now all starting to sink helplessly onto their back haunches BC Hydro said there was nothing in the released gas that would account for this debilitating paralysis.

Dr. Upper sent samples of the grass the cattle were eating to a lab in BC. They were not equipped to do the analysis, and sent it to California. Note that these sorts of analysis are indeed complex, so glib assurances from the makers of pesticides should be viewed with healthy scepticism.

BC Hydro was correct. The cause of paralysis was not in the gas. But Dr. Upper had taken note of the cannisters sitting around the pumping station. When the results came back from California, he matched the chemicals to the cannisters.

The organophosphate, ‘glyphosate’ in the lubricant used in the pipelines was the cause of the strange paralysis in the herd of cattle. So while the BC Hydro official were telling the truth, young Dr. Upper hadn’t yet acquired enough experience and knowledge to know the ‘right’ question to ask. The paralysis came through the lubricant in the pipeline, not the gas flowing through the pipes.

I spoke to Dr. Upper, who now lives in Armstrong, last week. If I attempt to relate too many details about ‘long axons’ and ‘nervous systems’, I will undoubtedly err, not being a vetrinarian myself.

Dr. Upper attempted to talk to BC Hydro officials, but they denied responsibility, and refused to deal further with him, – until he took a movie clip of the poor, suffering creatures to the TV station. They aired it on the evening news and the BC Hydro officials were knocking on his door, the next Monday morning.

It was a fine herd of cattle Dr. Upper had to euthanize, but BC Hydro paid for all of it.

Roundup is an organophosphate. The label shown in my power point begins with ‘glyphosate’. I will not wade into complex chemistry, but I will tell you that Dr. Upper told me in no uncertain terms that Abbotsford should not be using Roundup on our school grounds.

Both the City and School Board use ‘Casoron’ as well as Roundup. My landscaper friend tells me Casoron is even more powerful, but I have not had time to research that pesticide. Dawn, who is in charge of City grounds says they attempt to minimize the use of chemicals, and it really does look that way to me. I certainly commend them for this effort to keep chemical use down. But the massive chemical burns evident on all the school grounds that I looked at, here in Abbotsford, is severe.

The Monsanto claim that Roundup is not residual in the soil is complete nonsense. Dawn tells me the City only needs to do ONE application per season. Clearly the Roundup is having a powerful residual impact on the plants, the seeds, and the soil.

I took several pesticide exams because I went into some small-scale landscaping on my own. Pesticides kill. That’s what ‘cide’ means. The elements used to kill smaller life forms can and do accumulate in the environment.

I do not advocate for a complete ban on pesticides. I believe we still need to control ‘pests’ of all sorts, in agriculture and industry. But we have alternative options when it comes to mere aesthetic reasons.

Ten minutes will not permit me to expand on this subject, but WHY DO WE NEED TO KILL EVERY ‘WEED’ IN SIGHT?

I made a silent power-point showing photographs of chemical death on our parks and playgrounds – alternating with the beauty of plants we dismiss as ‘weeds’.

I would encourage the City to show leadership on this. Educate the public on the interdependence of all life forms. Teach the public to understand when and where ‘weed’ eradication is warranted. Many plants and animals have symbiotic relationships.

Were it not for the billions of weed seeds many of our already diminishing large and small creatures would die out.

Instead of sickening ourselves and our children, in our fight against ‘weeds’, for purely aesthetic reasons, I want Council to lead in a healthy way. Show us the beauty, the function, the utility of the plants we now treat as enemies.

Thank you. Gerda Peachey

(DrBrian Upper, a vetrinarian, was one of my instructors at UCFV.  DrUpper, just one year out of grad school, (about 1968), was called to help a farmer in Rosedale, BC.  The  farmer had a heifer displaying a mysterious illness.  Then it was another heifer, and more and more.  They were all losing the strength in their hind quarters.   

Many children are deemed ‘special needs’.  How much harm is caused by our excessive use of pesticides, poisons that are unnecessary, that are only for aesthetic reasons?)



Good Morning Gerda,
Yes, you can use the comments in my last E mail. In your last message, I could not access your first link to Perkin Elmer but suffice it to say that more research after the release of Roundup and related products, has revealed alot. And over time more will be forthcoming. For example the original safety studies were done on glyphosate alone when several adjuvants (not tested) were in the formulation. Some of these chemicals such as the surfactant POEA (polyethoxylated tallow amine)  have proven to be even more suspect of biological damage than the glyphosate. This substance has been found to cause damage to red blood cells in humans as cited in the Sierra Club bulletin. The glyphsate itself has also been known to have lethal effects on fish, amphibians and birds. 
One of my concerns is regarding the incomplete safety studies that were done and continue to be done on potentially harmful products. You must remember ‘thalidomide’. Recognizing that it is a completely different product, it was produced to reduce nausea (morning sickness) in the early stages of pregnancy. Studies in lab animals ‘proved’ it to be safe so it was approved in many countries for the described use. After it’s release, it was used all over the world. Six to eight months after it’s first use, new born babies all over the developed world (people from other countries luckily couldn’t afford it) showed up with missing portions of limbs. Over the world there are thousands of adults that lived there lives with deformed arms and hands because of incomplete safety testing. Once again it’s a case of live and learn but at what cost ? And are we at risk of repeating such mistakes over again.
The tri aryl phosphate that resulted in the poisoning that occurred in 1968 did biodegrade in the soil over  7 days. When the release was done 10 years later, no harmful effects were noted to the cattle. However, we do not know if any other more subtle harm occurred. What concerns me is that the glyphosate and it’s accompanying adjuvants are sprayed onto the plants taking up to a week to show effects to the plants but yet it is still there close to where small hands and feet can poke around at it. It appears that the immediate ‘convenience’ is far more important to us than the concern of a potential health risk. Time, once again, will tell. 
Brian Upper