The LA County Board of Supervisors is expected on Tuesday to consider a request by Supervisor Kathryn Barger to have county departments stop using an herbicide containing a chemical believed to cause cancer while a study is conducted and viable alternatives are explored.
“I am asking county departments to stop the use of this herbicide until public health and environmental professionals can determine if it’s safe for further use in LA County and explore alternative methods for vegetation management,” said Barger in a prepared statement.
Barger’s request comes following a report in the Pasadena Weekly that stated county workers in Pasadena are spraying Roundup, an herbicide containing glyphosate, which the World Health Organization in 2015 found “probably causes cancer.”
Under Barger’s motion, the spraying would stop while a full investigation is conducted by the Department of Public Works in conjunction with the county departments of Public Health, Parks and Recreation, and Beaches and Harbors, and the Agriculture Commission.
The herbicide is being used to kill vegetation growing near a heliport in Northeast Pasadena, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works (DPW) told the Pasadena Weekly last week after one resident living nearby complained about the spraying.
Pasadena city officials stopped using Roundup in 2018, according to City Manager Steve Mermell.
All told, there are local and state government glyphosate restrictions or bans in place in 13 states. Other California cities to take action on use of the herbicide include: Los Angeles, Burbank, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Thousand Oaks, Irvine and Richmond.
In August, a state civil court jury found that Roundup was responsible for a school groundskeeper’s terminal cancer. Dewayne Johnson was spraying the chemical 20 to 30 times a year while working at a school district near San Francisco. According to CNN, more than 800 other people are suing Monsanto, makers of Roundup, claiming the herbicide gave them cancer.
Despite all the calls to ban the product, Roundup is currently being advertised on local TV stations and can be purchased at most local hardware stores.