HONOLULU, Hawaii – On Friday, Big Island senator Josh Green chaired a health committee informational briefing on the use of glyphosate in Hawaii by state, county and city governments.
Green said he hoped the meeting would be a guide to “what this chemical is, how its being used in the state, and then, whether or not we not to be more focused on how we are using it, and whether we have to start asking questions about whether this is the right chemical to be use whatsoever.”
Commonly known as Roundup, concerns over the potential hazardous effects of the herbicide have risen lately, hand-in-hand with the hotly debated issue of genetically engineered food crops.
Senator Russell Ruderman was in attendance for the briefing held on Oahu. The Puna senator has shown great interest in the topic. “I know its been widely used in large part because of its great reputation for safety,” Ruderman said. “And now the science is showing that may not be such a well deserved reputation. I think its important that we take a good look at what we are using so much of so casually, and whether its the right thing to do.”
Jeff Knowles of the Kona Water and Soil Conservation District made a presentation to the committee on the use of glyphosate on the Big Island. He talked about the spraying that occurs once every three months on Kee Kee Street in Kealakekua. He said the parents see the trucks coming so they call their kids inside, and then the kids are right back outside playing in it.
“Nothing is marked,” Knowles said. “Unsuspecting adults and children, they do walk over these areas within minutes of spraying. I’ve seen it many times.” Knowles also raised concerns over wind drift wafting the chemicals into homes.
Andrea Rosanoff, the Director of Research & Science Information Outreach for the Center for Magnesium Education & Research, shared her attempts to gather information on the chemical. “Glyphosate not only kills plants,” Rosanoff told the committee, “but it also kills some – not all – bacteria. And so the idea is that it would disrupt the flora and fauna of the GI (gastrointestinal) tract of animals and of human beings. That’s a lot of speculation at this time; it needs a lot more research, as you can tell. Its a very complex issue.”
The state’s health Director, Dr. Linda Rosen, attended the briefing. Senator Ruderman asked her about work by Dr. Stephanie Seneff of M.I.T. connecting glyphosate to autism.
Extended clips from the senate committee hearing: