Do you value your health? Did you know some of your tax dollars might fund the use of cancer causing chemicals in your community?
In February, I met with the Transportation Committee of the Big Park Regional Coordinating Council (BPRCC) regarding the use of herbicides on the Highway 179 corridor landscaping.
As you may know, a special improvement district was formed that includes all of the Village of Oak Creek and most, if not all, of the other neighborhoods represented by BPRCC.
My purpose was to inform them of the cancer-causing effects of standard herbicides and ask that the BPRCC send a letter to the county requesting only non-toxic "EPA-exempt" herbicides be used for landscape maintenance.
In case you are unaware of the scientific findings on the hazards of standard herbicides, I will tell you what I have found as a member of a Faculty Senate committee to end herbicide use on the Northern Arizona University campus.
In a nutshell, exposure to all the commonly used herbicides and pesticides is linked to cancerous tumors, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, leukemia, genetic damage and other diseases, with children and pregnant women being most vulnerable.
As if that were not enough, recent studies have shown serious harm to the ecosystem results when the cocktail of publicly- and privately-used herbicides and pesticides combine in runoff water and end up in our streams, rivers and ponds.
Clearly, the EPA has failed to provide adequate protection in this regard. Recognizing this, many cities in the U.S. and Canada have banned herbicides and pesticides. Santa Fe, New Mexico banned herbicides and pesticides on city property.
Toronto, Canada with a population of 2.5 million has completely banned herbicides and pesticides for government and private use.
The BPRCC discussed my request, but chose to take no action.
Yavapai County has decided to ask for two types of bids, one using standard toxic herbicides, and the other using alternative non-toxic herbicides.
My concern is that, most likely, the bids with non-toxic herbicides will cost more. Therefore, the county will be inclined to go with the lowest bid, ignoring public health aspects.
There is something you can do about it. If you value your health, and the health of our community, it is extremely important that you make your desires known to Chip Davis and your BPRCC representatives.
Let them know that our health is worth something and that we are willing to pay a little more for safe chemicals to be used for Highway 179 landscape maintenance.
This is not about a few chemically sensitive individuals having allergic reactions.
This is about a serious public health issue. It is our money that will be paying for the landscape maintenance.
I, for one, do not want to pay for the use of cancer causing chemicals in my community. I hope you feel the same.
Chip Davis can be contacted through the Yavapai County website Board of Supervisors page "www.co.yavapai.az.us/bos.aspx" and BPRCC can be contacted through "www.bigparkcouncil.org".
Paul Gazda is a Sedona artist and member of Northern Arizona University's Faculty Senate Committee to end herbicide use on the NAU campus.
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