Schools in San Luis Obispo County, California, reported a complete ban of the pesticide Roundup in its school facilities since the end of 2018.
In 2016 and 2017, nearly 80 schools and childcare facilities in SLO County used pesticides to keep gophers, cockroaches, weeds, and other pests off campuses and out of classrooms.
Roundup is one of the most controversial pesticides on the market, believed carcinogenic due to its glyphosate content.
Studies point to the subtle effects of Roundup on enzyme production and growth in mammals that hadn’t been taken into account in earlier studies.
About eighty (80) SLO schools have previously used pesticides for their outside areas, and about fifty percent (50%) of them decided to select Roundup.
Roundup has become an infamous name in the industry, as lawsuits against Monsanto, the company that produces the pesticide, continue to pile up in courts all over the United States.
Roundup banned on all district-owned properties
Coast Unified School District’s board of education also voted to ban the use of Roundup on all district-owned properties after parents complained via social media that they had witnessed maintenance staff spraying Roundup at one school site weeks earlier in May.
School administrators should be wary which products are used for maintenance of the school premises. Chris Bonin, director of facilities, operations, and transportation assures the parents:
It’ll take us a little while to find the right product,” he said, “but in the meantime, we’re going to change up our landscapes a bit.
Bonin has instructed workers on installing “rockscapes” with drought-tolerant plants which discourage pests. All are reminded of the current regulation on the use of pesticides:
The Healthy Schools Act of 2000 prohibits some pesticides and encourages schools and childcare centers to use the least toxic pest management practices possible by developing integrated pest management plans, which can include maintaining mulch, handpicking weeds, soil solarization, and blocking doorways and cracks that bugs could get through.
New landscapes for schools in San Luis Obispo
Pests and vermin are a big problem for almost all districts in the county; however, the big controversy surrounding Roundup forced county officials to ban pesticides.
While this might pose a problem for gardeners and groundskeepers, it definitely makes the environment in schools safer, as no one would want carcinogenic products this close to children.
School districts around the United States are following SLO’s example, as parents have started launching social media campaigns to stop the use of Roundup on school grounds.
Roundup remains one of the most popular pesticides worldwide; however, it is safer if this product is not used in such proximity to young children, as its effects on their organisms might be even stronger.
In August last year, a court in California awarded three hundred million dollars (USD 300 million) in damages to a former school gardener who turned towards legal action against Monsanto after he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.