- Concerned comments made about county weed abatement program
By Myrna Trauntvein
An annually renewed routine weed abatement agreement between several agencies and Juab County drew some comments from a few concerned citizens on Monday.
Kevin Bailey, Juab County Weed Department Supervisor, presented a weed control MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with BLM (Bureau of Land Management) for commissioners to consider.
Commissioners agreed to sign the agreement following the presentation and after listening to the comments made.
"Those participating in the agreement are USU, Tooele, Millard, Utah Counties and the BLM," said Bailey.
Cooperative Weed Management Areas commonly referred to as CWMA's, are one of the newest and most effective ways to battle noxious and invading weeds in the United States.
"We worked with Millard and Tooele and a Squarrose Knapweed abatement program," he said.
Bailey said a coordinated effort has been organized in the weed management partnership to control noxious weeds on BLM lands.
"The county has participated in the partnership for the past seven years," he said.
Funds come from the BLM to help fight the spread of noxious weeds.
The funds help fight the spread of Squarrose Knapweed and other noxious weeds. BLM weed work also leads to the detection and control of Scotch thistle, musk thistle, bull thistle, all the knapweeds, white top, pepperweed, black henbane and tamarisk.
Blaine Malquist asked commissioners if he could ask a few questions. The first he asked was directed to Bailey.
"What kind of chemical is being used?" asked Malquist.
The weed abatement program, under the agreement, uses Grazon, 2, 4-D, and Banvel, said Bailey. The active ingredient in Grazon P+D is picloram plus 2, 4-D.
It is advertised as a broad-spectrum broadleaf weed control designed for rangeland and pasture use.
Malquist said that he was in the area where the herbicide was sprayed last year as the application was made. He said that Mountain Thistle, a native species, also known as Eaton's thistle, is a species of flowering plant in the aster family and is eaten by cattle.
"I saw the same area sprayed seven times," he said. "It didn't kill the plant."
Later in the year, he observed the plant and it was still doing well.
One effective way to get rid of Russian Thistle, which is on the noxious weed list, is to pull it.
Catherine Malquist said that weeds can be killed by pouring boiling water on them or by spraying them with vinegar.
"You received a letter from Dr. Brian Moench," said C. Malquist, "that means that you are accountable at a higher level."
Dr. Moench is president of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment and a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists. He is a practicing physician at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City.
"Even black plastic will kill weeds," said B. Malquist.
He said the use of such herbicides was "chemical trespass."
Over 80,000 corporate-produced chemicals are currently used in the United States, and scientists estimate that over seven hundred of those corporate-produced chemicals are now found within the body of every human. Only a small percentage of those chemicals have ever been screened for even one potential health effect, such as cancer, reproductive toxicity, developmental toxicity, or injury to the immune system. Even when testing is done, each chemical is tested individually rather than in synergistic combinations that reflect actual human exposure.
In "Scientific American" it states that ". . .But now researchers have found that one of Roundup's inert ingredients can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells."
B. Malquist said that he was traveling along the freeway when he passed large herbicide trucks spraying the sides of the freeway. That was unsafe, he said and he had suffered for the exposure.
C. Malquist said it was better to cut the weeds than it was to spray them.
"Juab County does cut the weeds," said Chad Winn, commission chairman. "This spraying agreement is for BLM land and is a cooperative agreement."
Malquist said that he appreciated the fact that Juab County crews did mow weeds along roads. Nevertheless, he said it was also the county's obligation to let the residents of the county know when spraying was to take place.
On Tuesday, the annual Juab County Weed Awareness Program was held at the Juab County Weed Department, in Nephi.
One pint of a concentrated broadleaf herbicide was provided to households at no cost. The herbicide was in the company's original container with the product label attached.
Only 450 pints were distributed on a first come first served basis.
The program was sponsored by Nephi and Eureka Cities, Juab County Weed Board, and USU Extension.
B. Malquist said he would also appreciate his neighbors letting his family know when they are spraying weeds because he and his daughter can then prepare to protect themselves since they are both sensitive to many of the weed sprays.