Letter: Concern over chemical spraying on bike path

Posted 7/19/18

To the editor:

As a “frequent flyer” on the East Bay Bike Path, I was horrified to see chemical application signs popping up on the bike trail a few weeks ago. After several phone …

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Letter: Concern over chemical spraying on bike path

Posted

To the editor:

As a “frequent flyer” on the East Bay Bike Path, I was horrified to see chemical application signs popping up on the bike trail a few weeks ago. After several phone calls, I was told that the spraying was done by the DOT as part of their repair of the path and that they were spraying for Japanese knotweed, an invasive. A phone call to DEM confirmed that the product they used was glyphosate (Roundup), a known carcinogen, and that it has been used in the past on the bike trail by DEM (I’ve seen the knotweed turn brown and die in the past, though I didn’t know it had been sprayed, as there were no chemical application signs).

Japanese knotweed is an invasive weed that can be seen in many areas along the bike trail. It is tenacious to be sure. However, as those of us who frequent the trail, we can tell you it’s obvious that spraying doesn’t kill it because year after year it always comes back with a vengeance. So, the spraying, in my opinion, is doing more harm than good. Cutting it down and digging the roots out would be much more effective and not at all detrimental to humans, animals or the environment.

Glyphosate (Roundup) is a known public health issue, causing or contributing to diseases such as allergy symptoms and asthma, lung disease, liver disease, reproductive issues, birth defects and cancer. It seeps into ground water and pollutes wildlife areas. It is a known contributor to the decline in the pollinator population. So why are they allowed to spray these toxic chemicals into our environment when there are other, more natural methods of eradicating invasives?

RI law states that if someone has a chemical lawn company apply weed killer (which, of course, is always a Roundup type product) to their yard, any abutting neighbor can request the lawn company in question notify them 48 hours prior to the application so they can keep animals in, close their windows, not hang laundry, etc., as a means of protection. If this law exists in our state, then it is known that these chemicals are detrimental to our health. This being the case, why are they allowed to spray these same chemicals in areas where people, children, pets and wildlife will be directly exposed to them? 

Evelyn Petisce

Riverside

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