City Will Review Pesticides as Part of Update to the Integrated Pest Management Program
Seattle (August 23, 2019) – To help protect residents and City employees from toxic chemicals, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced today that she has signed Executive Order 2019-05 restricting the use of pesticides containing glyphosate, the active ingredient in RoundUp, by City departments.
Effective immediately, City of Seattle departments who engage in pest management – including Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle City Light, Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle Center, Seattle Finance and Administrative Services, and the Seattle Department of Transportation – have been directed to avoid the use of glyphosate. In addition, an interdepartmental team will update the City’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan, including the list of approved pesticides, using a risk-reduction model.
Glyphosate is considered a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization, but still approved for use by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. Out of an abundance of caution, the City has joined cities like San Francisco and decided to highly restrict the usage of glyphosate and look for alternative solutions to controlling non-native and invasive weeds.
“As a City, we are committed to developing better approaches to maintaining our public land without the use of dangerous pesticides. We will continue to lead the nation in reducing the use of toxic chemicals,” said Mayor Durkan. “The health and safety our neighbors and the City’s public servants comes first. We are immediately moving forward with a severely restricting the use of glyphosate to ensure that our public spaces are safe both for the community and for the public servants who maintain them.”
This restriction on glyphosate builds on the City of Seattle’s work to significantly reduce its use of pesticides since the 1970s, including adopting a ban 10 years ago on the use of pesticides at over 250 playfields, picnic areas, community gardens, and play areas. In addition, Seattle currently has 22 pesticide-free parks.
“Seattle has been a leader in reducing the use of pesticides and finding alternatives to managing public lands in a way that preserves our environment and protects the health of our community,” stated Megan Dunn, People and Communities Program Director at Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides. “We are glad to see this glyphosate restriction, which illustrates the thoughtful and precautionary approach Seattle is known for.”
“Restricting glyphosate is the right thing to do,” said Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Superintendent Jesús Aguirre. “We continue to adapt our landscape management practices to the best available science, always seeking to support our vision of Healthy People, a Healthy Environment, and a Strong Community.”
“We are proud to support this executive order, which prioritizes the health and safety of Seattle’s community members and our employees,” said Calvin W. Goings, Director of the Department of Finance and Administrative Services, which manages many of the City’s buildings and facilities. “We are committed to this effort to improve the City’s pesticide practices.”
The IPM interdepartmental team will focus their efforts on identifying promising practices to control noxious weeds in spaces where glyphosate had been used for this purpose, such as forest restoration projects, hardscapes, and shrub beds. An updated Integrated Pest Management Plan, approved pesticide list, and public online portal will be completed by the end of 2019.
For residents wishing to help maintain parks and open spaces through manual practices as part of Seattle’s Integrated Pest Management process, volunteer work parties are listed on the City’s calendar, available at http://www.seattle.gov/event-calendar.