Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-New York) and State Senator Jose Serrano today announced that their bill A732-B/S6502, to prohibit the use of glyphosate on New York State property, passed both the New York State Assembly and Senate, and now heads to the Governor for his signature.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, is the most commonly used weed killer in the country. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer labeled glyphosate a probable human carcinogen in 2015. Glyphosate’s suspected connection to cancer was the subject of a class action lawsuit earlier this year.
“Weeds are unsightly, but cancer is a killer, and we should not wait for a child or anyone to become sick to take action to protect them against a serious potential risk,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. “Parents don’t want their children exposed to dangerous, toxic chemicals when they play in state parks, and groundskeepers and farm workers should not be exposed to potentially deadly chemicals while doing their job. Prohibiting the use of glyphosate on State property makes good sense: doing so will protect the public health and environment while shielding the State from millions of dollars in potential liability associated with its use. With safer alternatives available, there is no reason the State should be using a potential carcinogen to kill weeds.”
“Our parks, playgrounds and picnic areas are an oasis for New Yorkers, and have particularly become safe havens during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said State Senator Serrano. “It is important that we protect the health and safety of workers, families, and pets by proactively eliminating the use of potentially harmful chemicals like glyphosate in our public spaces, and by finding safe alternatives that will not risk the health of New Yorkers and our environment. I would like to thank Assembly sponsor Linda Rosenthal as well as Senate Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Todd Kaminsky for his efforts in passing this important legislation.”
Bayer recently settled a class action suit that combined nearly 100,000 individual suits brought by groundkeepers, homeowners and farmers tying glyphosate-based Roundup use to cancer for $10.9 billion, one of the largest settlements in U.S history. More than 30,000 individual lawsuits are pending. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, an independent panel of experts will be convened to determine whether glyphosate causes cancer and whether and what the safe levels of exposure are.
Last year, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation dumped more than 500 gallons of glyphosate in over 28,000 acres of city parks, playgrounds, athletic fields, recreational facilities, beaches and parkways to control the growth of weeds. Across the State, more than 50,000 gallons of liquid herbicide containing glyphosate were applied in public spaces.
“Bayer was exposed to billion-dollar liability in the absence of a specific finding by the Court that glyphosate causes cancer. In addition to expert research, there is more than enough anecdotal evidence that glyphosate makes people sick. It is enough evidence to expose New York, already facing a multi-billion-dollar budget deficit, to significant liability. Prohibiting its use on state property will save New York billions in potential legal liability and prevent untold human suffering,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal.
“Killing crabgrass is not worth making people sick. This bill takes the first step towards ending the use of glyphosate, a weed-killer linked to cancer and commonly known as RoundUp. Glyphosate is being banned around the world, and we commend Assemblymember Rosenthal and Senator Serrano for requiring New York agencies to lead the way in ending the spraying of this toxic substance in our state,” said Kate Kurera, Deputy Director, Environmental Advocates of New York.
“It has been a privilege to support Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal and her staff on this critically needed legislation to protect public health and safety. Non-Toxic Neighborhoods and our advisors believe that it should be a basic human right that our children are protected from glyphosate, and we support Assemblymember Rosenthal’s bill, A 732-B, prohibiting the use of glyphosate on state property. Having worked with municipalities and school districts around the country it is encouraging to see this action now happening at the state level thanks to Assemblymember Rosenthal!” said Kim Konte of Non-Toxic Neighborhoods.
“Today, New York’s legislature took a strong and important stand against the toxic pesticide industry. Carcinogenic glyphosate has no business on state-owned land. Now it is up to Governor Cuomo to follow Assembly Member Rosenthal, Senator Serrano, and the rest of the legislature’s lead and sign this crucial legislation into law,” said Alex Beauchamp, Northeast Region Director, Food & Water Action.
Liz Moran, Environmental Policy Director for NYPIRG, said, “NYPIRG is thrilled about the passage of Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal and Senator Serrano’s bill to ban glyphosate, commonly known as Roundup, from being used on public lands in New York. It is well known that glyphosate is likely carcinogenic to humans, and this legislation is a crucial step to protect New Yorkers from exposure. We urge its signature into law.”
“Glyphosate is a known probable carcinogen and yet it continues to be used and can find its way into our air, water, and wild places,” said Caitlin Ferrante, Conservation Program Manager, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter. “With many alternatives, including less toxic and even non-chemical options, New York should be looking at ways to treat state properties that won’t leave lasting damaging effects. The Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter thanks bill sponsors Assemblymember Rosenthal and Senator Serrano, and Environmental Conservation Comm. chairs, Senator Kaminsky and Assemblyman Englebright for leading on this important issue and getting this bill passed!”
In addition to the risk to public health, glyphosate also poses significant threats to the environment. Many environmental organizations connect the widespread use of glyphosate and the decline in worldwide bee populations. The loss of our pollinators puts our food security in great peril.
Experts at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai’s Children’s Environmental Health Center recommend that children should not be exposed to glyphosate-based herbicides because of the growing concern. Children naturally spend more time close to the ground in parks and playgrounds, where they are more likely to inhale, ingest or otherwise be exposed to dangerously high levels of glyphosate on the grass or in the soil. The same goes for our pets, who walk in the park, sniffing at the grass and trees.
France, Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Greece and Italy are among the 21 countries, along with municipalities like Chicago, Boulder, New Paltz and others already prohibit the use of glyphosate in all or some public spaces.
Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal is the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. She represents the 67th Assembly district, which includes the Upper West Side and Hell’s Kitchen neighborhoods in Manhattan.
Senator José M. Serrano is the Chair of the Senate Majority Conference and Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks & Recreation. He represents the 29th Senate District, which covers neighborhoods in the South & West Bronx, East Harlem, Upper Yorkville, Roosevelt Island, Central Park and the Upper West Side.