Residents speak out against town’s use of glyphosate

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The Herbicide and Pesticide Study Committee held a public information session on March 14 to gather input from Granby residents on the use of glyphosate (commonly known as Round-up) by the Public Works Department on roadways and near waterways. The first use by the DPW was in 2017, done with a boom truck whose spray width was five feet. More than 30 people attended the meeting, five of whom were committee members. The chairwoman of the committee outlined the charge from the Board of Selectmen to the committee and set the guidelines for the public to participate.

Thirteen residents expressed dismay regarding the use of glyphosate and presented scientific data proving that the use of the herbicide is harmful to humans, the watershed and plant and animal life at the spray site and downwind and downstream. Some of the research presented included the fact that the chemical has a half-life of 18 years, meaning that in 18 years, half of the quantity sprayed is still in the environment. In March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as probably carcinogenic to humans. The study was performed by 17 scientists from 17 different nations.

The producer of the herbicide, Monsanto, has made many false claims for its use, and now has major lawsuits filed against organizations that are considering eliminating its use. The company will not release any data on its studies regarding the safety of the chemical.

The USDA has refused to test glyphosate for safety. It is known that residue of the chemical is found in many products we all buy at the grocery store, especially breads, oatmeal and organic honey. Many gastro-intestinal ailments are traceable to this residue.

At this time, California has made it illegal to use glyphosate and Connecticut has outlawed its use on elementary school grounds. Durham, Conn., stopped using it in 2015, based on the recommendation from the town’s Roadside Management Task Force.

Granby’s Herbicide and Pesticide Study Committee was formed by the BOS in late August 2017, after considerable resident complaints during that summer. The committee members are Chairman Susan Canavan, Marge Goslee, Peter Jalbert, John Monkiewicz and Gilman Mucaj. Monkiewicz stated that he has done significant research on the use of the herbicide, but at this public hearing, committee members were advised to withhold their own research and data on the topic.

The committee was charged to give its final report before the growing season. Canavan could not say if the report would be available publicly before the selectmen put it on their agenda. The committee will  begin writing the report on April 2.