In a significant environmental move, Andy Bass, Reno’s director of parks, recreation, and community services, announced in late May that Wingfield and Barbara Bennett parks would transition to being pesticide-free. This announcement was met with applause during a City Council meeting, where Sandy Rowley, a local resident, expressed her gratitude to Bass with an unexpected kiss on the cheek, eliciting cheers from those present.

The decision was universally seen as a positive step forward. Mayor Hillary Schieve also voiced her support, emphasizing the need for the city to eliminate pesticide use entirely, especially after hearing concerns about children participating in Easter egg hunts on grass treated with chemicals.

Reno primarily uses glyphosate, a common herbicide found in products like Roundup, to manage weeds in public spaces. This chemical, widely used in gardening and lawn care, was classified by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer as a probable carcinogen in March.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that individuals applying glyphosate should use a respirator due to its toxicity to aquatic life, though it claims the chemical usually doesn’t pose environmental risks with standard use. However, they caution against improper disposal to prevent any potential environmental damage.

Sandy Rowley shared her personal ordeal with the council, suggesting that exposure to pesticides had previously caused her significant health issues. She highlighted a broader concern: “When you’re jogging by a park, or your children are playing in public spaces, they might be exposed to dangerous chemicals without your knowledge. Our schools, playgrounds, and walking paths are all at risk from these toxic substances.”