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Report: Pledge to be Toxic-Free
Thriving Communities Guide
In 2015, the World Health Organization’s cancer arm, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, concluded that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is a “probable carcinogen.” This sparked a worldwide debate about the dangers of the chemical and the levels of exposure sufficient to threaten our health. Given these health concerns, can we live without weed killers that have been tied to health risks like Roundup, and have we become far too reliant on them?
In this report, we look at ten communities that have chosen to eliminate or seriously limit Roundup and other glyphosate-based pesticides. We include tips and advice from the communities so that other places might also consider policies and actions that would reduce exposure to Roundup. While there are many communities that have restricted the use of Roundup, these ten places stand out for their efforts to create a pesticide-free community. The ten cities we examined are:
- Boulder, CO;
- Carrboro, NC;
- Charlottesville, VA;
- Dubuque, IA;
- Takoma Park, MD;
- Evanston, IL;
- Irvine, CA;
- Richmond, CA;
- Portland, OR;
- Wellesley, MA.
These cities demonstrate that there is a lot people can do in their own communities to protect themselves from pesticides. Here are some highlights from our examination:
- Boulder, Colorado has begun to water its parks more efficiently and use organic fertilizers.
- Dubuque, Iowa has been planting native plants, which are more adaptable to the Iowa soil than grass.
- Wellesley, Massachusetts has a website devoted to facts about pesticide use that is accessible to its citizens who are looking for tips on how to stop using Roundup.
From Portland, Oregon to Wellesley, Massachusetts, these cities and communities prove that it is possible to keep out weeds without the help of Roundup. In surveying these communities, it became clear that strong public support is necessary to initiate a change in pest and weed management, and dedicated planning and community engagement are important elements that must follow. We hope that these examples can provide guidance for communities that would like to protect themselves from harmful pesticides like Roundup, and show that Roundup-free communities are a reality, and not a far-off impossibility.
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