Someone sent us a link to an article about Roundup by Caroline Cox, a scientist who leads the pesticide research at Center for Environmental Health.
Titled “Why You Shouldn’t Use Roundup (Or Trust Its Labels),” it’s one of the most accessible articles about why it’s not a good idea to use Roundup. It’s also well documented, with links to the research papers it cites.
Here’s a summary:
1. The label calls it fast and easy. That’s true, it’s a powerful herbicide. But often, all it does is leave an open niche that will promptly be colonized by other plants. (There’s evidence elsewhere that some plants are developing a resistance to Roundup.)
2. The company claims Roundup works by targeting an enzyme found only in plants. Maybe. But it’s a mutagen, causes abnormalities in the fetuses of pregnant rats, and considerably interferes with production of sex hormones in human cells (reductions of up to 90%).
3. The label claims it breaks down without moving into the soil. If so, we’re not sure where all the Roundup in the water is coming from. A study of 10 streams compared water upstream and downstream of waste-water treatment plants. The downstream water had twice as much glyphosate (the “active” ingredient in Roundup, though the “inert” ingredients are not so inert, actually) and its breakdown products as the water upstream.
The article continues into a good presentation against the use of herbicides.
To UCSF’s credit, no herbicides have been used on Mt Sutro since 2008, and in the Aldea Student Housing since late 2009.
It may be the only herbicide-free wildland in the city. (The sadly-misnamed “Natural Areas Program” uses Garlon and Roundup on Twin Peaks and Mt Davidson, and Imazapyr at Stern Grove.)
But this will change if the “plan” for the forest goes through. Roundup (or Garlon, which may even be worse) is what UCSF plans to use on shrubs and trees on the slope above Forest Knolls — and potentially, in more than half the forest.