IRVINE – For Laurie Thompson, it was finding out about families in the neighborhood whose children, like her daughter, were struck with a rare cancer.
For Ayn Craciun, it was experiencing a series of inexplicable miscarriages.
For Kathleen Hallal, it was dealing with her children’s autoimmune issues.
The three women and other Irvine parents concerned about the possible effects of pesticides on children’s health last year formed Non Toxic Irvine, an advocacy group pushing to end the use of synthetic chemicals to manage weeds and pests citywide.
On Tuesday, they will ask the Irvine City Council to ditch synthetic chemicals in favor of organic pesticides for the city’s 570-odd acres of parks and fields, 800-plus acres of public right-of-way, 70,000 trees and nearly 1.5 million square feet of facilities.
“A lot of people don’t pay attention, but when your kids get sick, you start looking around,” Hallal said.
“Kids are exposed to so many chemicals now, even in the womb,” she said. “We feel like in order to fight dandelions, to add to that chemical mix is a poor choice.”
Craciun, who lives in Irvine’s Quail Hill subdivision, said the master homeowners association there has switched to organic methods instead of sprays with glyphosate, the active ingredient in many herbicides, like agriculture giant Monsanto’s top-selling weedkiller, Roundup. Some other HOAs have followed suit.
After meetings with Non Toxic Irvine board members, Irvine Unified stopped using Roundup and, after visiting Los Angeles Unified School District to learn about its stringent pesticide-use policy, set up a pilot program using organic methods only at Plaza Vista K-8 School...
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