University of California issues temporary glyphosate suspension, thanks to a former volleyball player

ByMelanie Woodrow KGO logo
Saturday, May 18, 2019
UC campuses issues temporary glyphosate suspension
University of California issues temporary glyphosate suspension, thanks to a former volleyball player

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- There's a big change coming to UC campuses in part thanks to a former UC Berkeley volleyball player committed to making a difference.

"I just want students to know they can do anything that if they see a problem they can fix it," said Mackenzie Feldman who founded Herbicide-Free UC.

When Feldman was a junior she and her teammates convinced the groundskeeper to stop spraying herbicides here.

"He was like, totally, I just don't have the labor to pick the weeds. And we said perfect, we have 20 girls on our team we'll do it for you," said Feldman.

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"We were worried that these were young women of reproductive age and they probably shouldn't be exposed to any of this stuff," said Feldman's former coach Nicole Walthall.

"They ended up coming out here and having weeding parties basically," said Walthall.

Now Feldman has served up an ace for the entire UC community. UC President Janet Napolitano issued a temporary suspension of the use of glyphosate-based herbicides at all UC locations due to concerns about possible hazards.

"We were like, dang, we did it," said Feldman.

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"It's going to make a huge impact for every student in the whole UC system. That's a lot of kids that aren't going to be exposed to this stuff anymore," said Walthall.

Exceptions to the temporary suspension starting June 1 include agricultural operations, fuel-loaded management programs to reduce wildfire risk, native habitat preservation or restoration activities and research that requires glyphosate-based herbicides.

"We're getting a lot of people to email the president and tell her that it's not enough, and we want all prop 65 chemicals banned and then all herbicides," said Feldman.

Mackenzie says she is keeping a watchful eye on glyphosate-based litigation.

Bayer, the manufacturer or glyphosate-based weed killers tells ABC7 News, "... there is no evidence that moving away from glyphosate for amenity weed management enhances safety."

Bayer cites the Environmental Protection Agency's recent conclusion that there are no risks to public health from the current registered uses of glyphosate.