Group encourages council to help reduce use of glyphosate in Ashland

A group hoping to raise awareness about the dangers of common herbicides in the city aired their concerns at a City Council study session Monday. Advocates for Healthy Landscapes (AHL) is a group of Ashlanders working to reduce the number of people using potentially carcinogenic compounds found in such products as Roundup and various “weed and feed” lawn treatments. (This paragraph has been changed to correct "weed and seed" to say "weed and feed".)

AHL’s Kristina Lefever says a growing body of evidence suggests the compounds used in such products are carcinogenic. She says AHL’s sole mission is to educate the community with regard to the dangers of such products in an effort to reduce their use in Ashland. Lefever says she was happy with the reception the group received at the study session.

“I think the response was good and I’m confident that people in the room learned a lot," she said. "I think they are on board with what we are trying to do with regard to educating our community about glyphosate and 2, 4-d.”

Lefever says the group formed after a member of what is now AHL, Rael Reif, spoke before the City Council this summer urging the council to ban the use of glyphosate in the city. She was later shocked to learn that Oregon is one of 43 states with so-called preemption laws that bar municipalities from enacting laws to ban certain chemicals. Without a legal way to stop the use of glyphosate, now recognized as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lefever says education is the best way to accomplish the group’s goal of reducing human exposure to the compound.

“We are not asking for a ban, because we’re not into telling people, ‘you can’t do that.’ What we are trying to do is educate people about the possible dangers," she said, "and we’re not trying to take away sales from the businesses that sell these products. The hope is that we can change the way people think and those stores would expand into other products besides Roundup, because there are other products out there.”

Advocates for Healthy Landscapes gathered nearly 800 signatures encouraging the city council to consider a resolution supporting education in the community in the hope of reducing the use of the compounds. (This paragraph has been changed to correct the number of signatures collected.)

Alec Dickinson is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at AlecAlaska@gmail.com.

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