In the wake of widespread litigation across the state, the Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education on Tuesday night voted to ban the use of a glyphosate-based herbicide — commonly known as Roundup — at all district schools.
The vote was 4-0. Board member Jacqueline Reid was absent.
“Banning this cancer-causing pesticide is a clear issue of environmental justice,” board member Laura Capps said. “Our primary job is to keep those who are the most vulnerable — our kids — safe and out of harm.”
The decision came a week after the Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department also banned the poisonous chemical.
Steve Vizzolini, director of facilities and modernization, said the district has not used Roundup in more than four years.
“Considering recent developments and litigation and the district’s commitment to sustainable practices, staff is recommending removal of Roundup from our approved list of pesticides,” Vizzolini said.
The Environmental Protection Agency has not removed the chemical from its list of banned pesticides.
The school district’s ban comes amid federal-level relaxing of standards for glyphosate. The EPA on Aug. 7 issued a letter stating that it disagreed with California’s 2018 decision to list Roundup as a carcinogen, with a warning label on products in the state.
“Given the EPA’s determination that glyphosate is ‘not likely to be carcinogenic to humans,’ EPA considers the Prop. 65 warning language based on the chemical glyphosate to constitute a false and misleading statement,” said Michael Goodis, a spokesman for the EPAs office of pesticide programs. “Pesticide products bearing the Prop. 65 warning statement due to the presence of glyphosate are misbranded.”
Several court verdicts recently have hit the industry hard. A Livermore couple were awarded more than $2 billion in damages because they both got cancer after using Roundup for more than 30 years.
— Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.