The following is an excerpt from a letter published by the editor of The Seabrooker in January last, which I feel would be of interest to my Kiawah friends and neighbors, since we share a love for and interest in the natural beauty and wildlife of our islands, and need to do all we can to preserve and protect both.
Presently, I am recovering from a long illness and cannot lead the charge, but I feel that the use of RoundUp should be banned on these islands. Who knows, our lead might well be taken up at the Federal level and save countless lives. In the meantime, just stop using the stuff and spread the word to your friends, neighbors and garden helper.
While dozing in the very early morning some days ago, I heard the words “RoundUp has been linked to Lymphoma” coming from my bedside radio and National Public Radio. I tried to trace the broadcast later online, without success, but today, with a prompt of “link of RoundUp to lymphoma,” I brought up several sites with hair-raising data.
We’ve known for quite some time that using chemicals on plants and insects is a very dangerous method with unforeseen and startling results. They can harm and eventually kill not only the target but animals, birds, fish and man as well, even to the fetus in utero. Ask how many hospitals there are now in America dedicated to cancer in babies and children. Even small doses can have a long term cumulative insidious effect. Who has not read Rachel Carson‘s SILENT SPRING? The following online sites dealing with RoundUp really bring it home: GreenMedInfo.com links glyphosate, commonly known as RoundUp Grass and Weed Killer, with parkinsonism, lymphoma, aseptic meningitis and, worst of all, cell DNA damage. Naturescountrystore.com/roundup speaks of the 1999 Swedish study showing clear links with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, with an alarming 80 percent increase in the incidence of the disease since the early 1970’s. It also goes on to outline the use of the pesticide in genetically engineered crops, with the growers both in the USA and Europe requesting permits for higher residues, to which we as consumers will be exposed in our food.
Perhaps some homeowners do not know that when new houses are built on Seabrook, the site is cleared, generally the vegetation and root system is sprayed with strong burning poison, several layers of porous sand are brought in and impacted, and after your house is finished, your landscaping is planted. I have been told that undiluted RoundUp is the favorite of Seabrook landscapers and gardeners for this chemical “kill.” And If you are wondering how those lovely, swards of green grass that now replace the right-of-way in front of homes are weed free, I have seen weed-killer being sprayed, and in one case the worker I asked confirmed he was using RoundUp.
Personally, and because my house is on the banks of a lake, I did not allow the use of any chemical killer, and do not to this day, but brought in several trucks of topsoil for the landscaping in the front of the house. However, some of the plants and trees beside and behind the house were planted in porous sand, which made them susceptible to any poison which travels with the ground water and rain and some root systems. I have seen moisture seep up around shoots on my land from some source on an adjoining plot of land.
RoundUp is anything but “safe and friendly,” as the manufacturer Monsanto advertised. In fact, the Attorney General of New York at one time sued Monsanto to cease and desist such false advertising, and won. Having read some of the research on my garden helper’s gastrointestinal disorder, I believe his condition is most likely due to his long exposure to weed killers, including RoundUp.
If you know any Seabrooker who fought lymphoma and/or Parkinson’s, as I do, this will surely give you pause. I have recently been subjected to a high level of stress by the unnecessary use of the chemical close to my property.
In the last months, I have found two dead rats, one dead snake and one dead fish in my back garden. The deer herd no longer sleep here at night, or rest in the shade of the bamboo stand in the heat of the day as they used to. It was worth getting up with the sun to see them rise and quietly slip away each day. My foxes, raccoons and bobcats have disappeared. And where are my butterflies, my bluebirds, my once-a-year kingfisher? Gone, too, my family of blue herons with their babies each year picking their way around the shallows of the lake, and the cormorants and white egrets. This year, I‘ve noticed, the fish aren’t “jumpin.” That is a first in all the years I’ve lived here. My private Reserve, as my Out-of-Africa brother called it, is no more. Only my mischievous squirrels remain, possibly by staying home in my garden, but there is little doubt in my mind that we are responsible for our albino deer, raccoons, squirrels and, would you believe, at least one alligator that I know of, found in Tampa, Florida, but now in the Charleston Aquarium.
Our island powers-that-be seem to be seeking “visibility.” Given our stated mission as conservators and protectors of wildlife and clean waters and our Audubon status, I feel that we really would put Seabrook on the map internationally by leading an attempt to ban the use of RoundUp, starting with our own island.