Letter to the Editor: Response to County’s Plan for Herbicide Spraying Next Week

White Rock

As a citizen of White Rock, I am requesting the county cease their planned use of the chemical herbicides, Dupont HYVAR X-L and Monsanto Ranger Pro, during the week
of April 7 “along the gutter/pavement lines throughout the community.”

Active ingredient of HYVAR X-L

The active ingredient in HYVAR X-L is 5-Bromo-3-sec-butyl-6-methyluracil, more commonly known as Bromacil. Bromacil stops the photosynthesis process of the weeds.
This would happen to other plants were Bromacil accidentally spread to non-target plants.

Environmental Conditions and Biological Activity

DuPont’s MSDS clearly states that “rainfall following application is required to activate HYVAR X-L.” According to www.weatherchannel.com the 10 day forecast says we only have a 30 percent chance for rain this Saturday, April 5. The MSDS also warns about using Bromacil in winds “more than 10 mph.” Also according to www.weatherchannel.com, we are expecting to have winds in the low- to mid-teens over the next 10 days. If sprayed in wind conditions greater than 10 mph, the chance of it spreading to non-target plants is greatly increased. We don’t want the Cerro Grande effect on non-target plants and trees throughout Los Alamos and White Rock by use of this chemical.

Active ingredient of Ranger Pro

The active ingredient in Monsanto’s Ranger Pro is Glyphosate-N (phosphonomethyl)glycine or just glyphosate for short. Glyphosate is sprayed directly on the foliage of the intended plants, in this case, weeds. Granted we are not expecting heavy rains, which would wash the herbicide off the plants and into the water system but with expected high winds there is a greater chance of this herbicide reaching non-target species.

Effects on plants and insects

Most weeds are actually resistant to glyphosate and it has been found to be very “effective in killing a wide variety of plants” including non-target grasses, flowering plants, trees and shrubs and beneficial insects, such as butterflies and ladybugs, lacewings and parasitoid wasps (Hassan, S.A. et al. Results of the fourth joint pesticide testing programme carried out by the IOBC/WPRS working group “Pesticides and Beneficial Organisms.” J. Appl. Ent.105:321-329).

The use of glyphosate decreases germinating seeds and seedling weight in nontarget plants. (Locke, D., J.A. Landivar, and D. Moseley. 1995. The effects of rate and timeing of glyphosate applications on defoliation efficiency, regrowth inhibition, lint yield, fiber quality and seed quality. Proc. Beltwide Cotton Conf. National Cotton Council of America: 1088-1090.)

Effects on Humans

In humans glyphosate has also caused “destruction of red blood cells, lung dysfunction, low blood pressure, kidney damage, erosion of gastrointestinal tract, dizziness, fever and nausea.” (Sawada, Y., et al. 1988. Probable toxicity of surface-active agent in commercial herbicide containing glyphosate. Lancet 1(8580):299; Tominack, R.L. et al. 1991. Taiwan National Poison Center: Survey of glyphosate-surfactant herbicide ingestions. Clin. Toxicol. 29(1):91-109; Talbot, A.R. et al. 1991. Acute poisoning with a glyphosate-surfactant herbicide (“Roundup”): A review of 93 cases. Human Exp. Toxicol. 10:1-8.)


! Aside from the environmental and human hazards that these two chemicals pose, the cost is extreme. One gallon of HYVAR X-L is $168.69 (and thatʼs via amazon.com). A 2.5 gallon jug of Ranger Pro is $72.94 (also amazon.com price). I would recommend a more effective, environmentally safe and practically free alternative – hot water. If you pour boiling hot water on a plant – any type of plant – it will die. Another option is to use 50 percent dish soap and 50 percent water – this will suffocate the plants. One gallon of plant-derived, dye and fragrance free, biodegradable dish soap is a mere $23.

! In light of these findings, HYVAR X-L or Ranger Pro should not be used. The adverse affects for humans, plants and animals can be avoided when there are other holistic and inexpensive alternatives available and making it a win-win solution for everyone.


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