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AUSTIN—Council voted today to prohibit use of chlorpyrifos, a carcinogen, on city lands. Chlorpyrifos got national attention last year when EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt overrode his own staff and decided not to ban the pesticide. Chlorpyrifos has been on city golf courses as recently as 2016.
“Austin continues to lead Texas’ cities in environmental stewardship. Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, take note,” says Bay Scoggin, TexPIRG state director. “This is a great step for public health in the area and the health of our ecosystem.”
The ordinance also bans use of bee killing neonics and possible carcinogen glyphosate (the main ingredient in Roundup). The new policy also affirms that contractors who apply pesticides inside city buildings do so in accordance with the city’s IPM policy. That measure was included in the ordinance after city employees complained of getting sick after pesticides being sprayed at their workplaces.
The global population of bee colonies shrinks by 30-40% each and every year, but bees pollinate much of the food we depend on like apples, broccoli, coffee beans, and even chocolate. Further, bees pollinate one of the main foods that cows eat, alfalfa, which means we could struggle to produce meat and dairy products as well.
“I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in a world without coffee and chocolate,” says Bay Scoggin, TexPIRG State Director. “Bees are an important part of our food supply and ecosystem, and we need to protect them with common sense solutions like this one.”
“We thank Councilwoman Alter for her leadership on this issue,” says Scoggin. “It’s good to know that with all the buzz surround this issue, someone important is listening.”
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