San Francisco residents can now see exactly where glyphosate – the carcinogenic herbicide linked to myriad health and environmental issues – is lurking in their city. After creating a map of New York City locations contaminated with glyphosate (otherwise known as Monsanto’s Roundup), Reverend Billy & The Stop Shopping Choir have targeted San Francisco with a revealing and disturbing new map. The scariest thing? Most of the glyphosate sprayings are in public parks and playgrounds.
Reverend Billy & The Stop Shopping Choir partnered with the San Francisco Forest Alliance to create the map, using information gathered from the San Francisco Parks Department. The map lists over 200 locations, which include ball fields, libraries and playgrounds, as well as parks all across the city. Reverend Billy plans to speak out against Monsanto at five independent bookstores around the area, and may also speak at sites where Roundup has been sprayed, such as the De Young Museum.
Last year the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which operates under the World Health Organization, classified glyphosate in Group 2A: chemicals that are “probably carcinogenic to humans.” The classification led to backlash from Monsanto, although United States cities like San Francisco still haven’t banned the use of glyphosate.
San Francisco residents have already expressed concern last fall: parents of preschoolers were upset when the herbicide was sprayed near their children’s school, and dog owners were concerned that their dogs might be ingesting glyphosate after eating grass in one of the San Francisco Parks and Recreation’s dog parks. One woman spoke out after her dog died from a mouth tumor and her vet said such illnesses were too common in the city. San Francisco mother and Inhabitat editor Jill Fehrenbacher started a petition calling for a ban of glyphosate in public parks; so far it has received over 11,000 signatures, but the city has yet to change its policy.
SFFA video shows a recent spraying in San Francisco’s McClaren Park
California’s Proposition 65, passed by the people in 1986, mandates that the state provide “a list of chemicals” that are linked to birth defects and cancer. But when California added glyphosate to the list, Monsanto sued.
Glyphosate has been found in the air during application and later in food and water. According to IARC, it still “has the highest global production volume of all herbicides.”
The San Francisco Forest Alliance wants to let city residents know that if they are concerned about glyphosate spraying, they can sign this online petition, and/or attend a public hearing at City Hall with their elected officials to discuss the issue. There are two upcoming SF Environment Commission pesticide review meetings at San Francisco City Hall in March:
March 8th, 2016 – 5pm, City Hall, Room 421
March 22th, 2016 – 5pm, City Hall, Room 416
During the week of April 18th, Reverend Billy, who resided in the Bay area for more than twenty years, will protest at the DeYoung Museum, one of the sites of where the San Francisco Parks Department applies deadly glyphosate. He plans to exorcise the world-renowned bastion of high culture and give it a good spiritual scrubbing with local activists. We asked Reverend Billy about what inspired this new San Francisco glyphosate map, and here’s what he had to say:
The government has revealed its poisons. It responded to our Freedom of Information request and we look out at the landscape of the beautiful Bay Area and see the sprayings everywhere of the terrible toxin Glyphosate. They continue to spray it even as the science has become overwhelming that Monsanto’s herbicide is a killer of more than weeds.
Carcinogenic and profitable, this is the infamous RoundUp. For some reason, or maybe many reasons like its earlier products PCB’s, Agent Orange, Bovine Growth Hormones – this company Monsanto is starring now in the role of the Devil. We know that there are tens of thousands of invisible chemicals in our commons of the air, but RoundUp has found our spotlight. It is a chemical metaphor for the corruption of our public life.
Images via Reverend Billy & The Stop Shopping Choir