Miami city commissioners voted unanimously to ban the use of Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller and all other glyphosate-based herbicides, citing public health and environmental concerns. The resolution takes effect immediately.
Miami Commissioner Ken Russell sponsored the resolution along with Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, in response to the “blue-green algae blooms, red tide, and fecal contamination” that raised environmental red flags in Miami and around Florida in recent months.
Glyphosate is suspected to cause cancer and is classified as a probable human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
Mr. Russell told the Miami New Times that the glyphosate ban is part of a wider effort to clean up the runoff from storm drains entering Biscayne Bay, choking coral reefs and other aquatic plant ecosystems.
Glyphosate is so widely used in the U.S. now that it can be found in nearly everything, from the air we breathe to the water we drink and the food we eat. Studies have indicated that the chemical is also present in the blood of nearly every person in the U.S. And, as glyphosate use rises, so does the level of the chemical found in the bodies of test populations.
Miami’s resolution prohibits city workers in all department as well as contractors from using the herbicide. Until now, the city used nearly 5,000 gallons of Roundup and other glyphosate herbicides every year.
Commissioner Russell also called on Miami residents to be more cognizant of the substances they use in their own yards, noting that it all eventually accumulates in the water supply and environment.
“Water quality issues are so important to the city of Miami, and we can be one of the worst polluters as a municipality,” Mr. Russell told The Miami New Times. “We ask for residents to make a change in their habits and that they be conscious of what they put in their gardens, but when I realized the totality of what the city uses at any given time, we had to change our habits.”
Monsanto, now a unit of the German multinational company Bayer, faces more than 9,000 lawsuits in the U.S. Most of the lawsuits have been filed by people who were routinely exposed to glyphosate and developed cancer, most of them from non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Beasley Allen lawyer John Tomlinson is investigating claims of cancer related to commercial exposure to Roundup.