Seattle Takes Bold Steps to Restrict the Use of Glyphosate
NCAP is excited to share some inspiring news! The City of Seattle is reconsidering its classification of the chemical glyphosate, commonly found in Roundup, as a highly restricted product. It may soon only be used on City property under strict control and as a last resort.
We thank Seattle for taking bold steps to strengthen their commitment to public, environmental and employee health. As technical advisors of the City of Seattle’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Interdepartmental Team (IDT), NCAP is providing technical assistance during the decision process and is thrilled with the result. The administration will direct an update of the Integrated Pest Management program to review all pesticide products. They will use the reduced risk model to protect people and the environment.
Over the past decade, NCAP has partnered with cities on a number of projects, including guides for parks departments for non-herbicidal landscaping techniques and an online web portal for professionals. Staff joined Seattle's IPM IDT in 2017 in support of the process to update the City’s IPM program, which includes their list of approved pesticides for landscape use. Seattle is responding to new studies and concerns from the community related to glyphosate.
A Leader in Sustainability
Seattle has been a leader in sustainability issues and reducing pesticides. In 2015 after public organizing, they passed a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides on city property and have spent decades on meaningful pesticide reduction plans. Using IPM at Seattle Parks and Recreation has resulted in an estimated 80% drop in labor hours associated with pesticide applications since the 1980s and dramatically reduced pesticide use .
With a population of approximately 730,000, Seattle is joining other progressive cities around the country working to ensure their use of pesticides is kept to a minimum. Partnering with communities such as San Francisco and Portland, Seattle will continue to be part of a larger movement to support a healthy environment that is safe for wildlife, employees, and the public.
Spreading the Impact
Our hope is that other cities take the same steps to reduce exposure as well as schools, daycares and other pesticide users. The Seattle School District just announced a “halt” on glyphosate use. A statement from September announced on their website: “It has come to our attention that some district ground crews have used Roundup which contains glyphosate a potential carcinogenic. We have halted our use of this product. We will review grounds maintenance practices to ensure we follow policy and procedure.”  We will continue to monitor glyphosate use at Seattle public schools.
Further, we will continue to encourage stewardship among homeowners and renters. According to a 2014 report by Washington’s Department of Agriculture, more than half of surveyed residents in King County apply pesticides to their property, and glyphosate was the most common herbicide used . We hope Seattle's action and awareness leads to better stewardship by all residents and that community members seek out alternatives to pesticides, especially where children live, learn and play.
 Washington Department of Agriculture Study, 2014. https://agr.wa.gov/FP/Pubs/docs/103-409PSReportfinal2014.pdf