Don’t Mess With Mother Nature

Investigative journalist I.F. Stone famously noted, “All governments lie.”  Which is why, it’s important for citizens to embark on their own fact-finding missions about issues relative to the health, wellbeing, and safety of their families.  

Our family has called Ocean Township home for more than 30 years. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed all that the town has to offer – the parks, the ball fields, and what’s left of the open spaces. Now a new generation of our family is embarking on the same journey. He’s playing on the jungle gyms. Running the bases. Getting good and dirty in the soil. Coming home with grass stains on his tiny jeans. 

He’s an active boy who loves the outdoors. Recently, we’ve become aware of several dangers lurking on those taxpayer-funded public spaces. 

Ocean Township contracts to have glyphosate-containing pesticides (including Prodeuce and Roundup QuikPRO) sprayed around its parks and fields. Multiple scientific studies from across the globe show that individuals who are exposed to glyphosate are more likely than others to develop cancer. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is type of cancer most commonly associated with glyphosate exposure. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (a research arm of the World Health Organization) even recognizes glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen.” 

To make matters worse, glyphosate is much more toxic and poses a greater threat when it is combined with other chemical compounds. So, when used in a pesticide, glyphosate is much more dangerous; its carcinogenic effect becomes amplified. 

(The recently posted grass signs – a warning to children or pets to stay off – after spraying are another ominous piece of evidence to its toxicity.)

The dangers of glyphosate are well known. California juries have ordered Monsanto, now Bayer, to pay more than $2.369 billion in damages in three different lawsuits. More recently, the company agreed to pay nearly $10 billion to settle the roughly 95,000 outstanding Roundup lawsuits and set aside $1.25 billion for future claims. 

Ocean Township knows how toxic glyphosate and other pesticides can be. In 2010, the Township Council voted to adopt Ordinance 10-052, in which the township vowed to embrace an Integrated Pest Management policy.

Among other things the ordinance acknowledges that “scientific studies associate exposure to pesticides with asthma, cancer, developmental and learning disabilities, nerve and immune system damage, liver or kidney damage, reproductive impairment, birth defects and disruption of the endocrine system,” and infants and children are particularly “vulnerable to pesticide effects and exposure.” 

Under an Integrated Pest Management policy, pesticides are supposed to be a last resort. When pesticides are used, they should be “selected and applied in a way that minimizes their possible harm to people, nontarget organisms, and the environment.”

Despite its own ordinance, warnings from the Ocean Township Environmental Commission (OTEC), and a growing body of evidence to show just how toxic glyphosate is, Ocean Township keeps on spraying. 

But surely cancer isn’t a problem in our town, right? Well, we recently became aware that, over the past decade, there have been over a dozen pediatric cancer cases in Ocean Township. That number could be as high as 19.

A councilmember, when approached about this issue, denied it. However, spending hours researching town council meetings, it was noted that during a meeting on April 11, 2019, a resident asked the mayor and council about Arsenic in the soil at Joe Palaia Park and the possible relationship to the cancer cases. The councilmember who dispensed the denial was seen discussing this very issue at length with the citizen. At 1:37.28 into the recorded session, the mayor acknowledges (about the pediatric cases) “Yes that’s true.”

Now we see that the corner of Highway 35 and Deal Road (known as “32 Acres”) has construction activity. Trees are being culled and paths are being cleared. When this precious open space in town is developed, the runoff will begin to flow through neighboring Palaia Park. Imagine the toxicity

that will occur when glyphosate and Arsenic come together in a watery sludge.

This sludge will permeate the earth; no one would willingly expose their loved ones to it, for fear of what the consequences might be.

Here’s the thing. Exposure to dirt, animals, and germs from an early age should be encouraged. It’s good for the body, mind, and soul. However, that’s true when the dirt is as Mother Nature intended – not when it’s knowingly laced with poisons and toxins. 

We want the best for our budding explorer and for all the children in Ocean Township. Right now, given the pediatric cancer cases, it is fair to say our children are being assaulted with toxins from top to bottom. From inside and out. These toxins, cumulatively, can have devastating consequences. 

So, now is the time to act. Now is the time to stand up against the hollow promises and outright denials and demand that our council and Mayor vow to prioritize our children and our health.  

Without collective, immediate action on the part of the community, we’ll all be wondering: Whose child will be next?

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