Letter to the Editor

Triclopyr is toxic

To the editor:

Bainbridge Island is working to change its environmental policy to allow the “immediate use of two (2) toxic pesticides, Imazapyr and Triclopyr, for the 2023 Invasive Weeds Services contract.” Both herbicides were outlawed by municipal code in 2003. I’ve been researching these chemicals. I have great concerns about their use, in particular the use of Triclopyr on the English Holly in Waterfront Park, located within a shoreline-protected zone adjacent to the water and natural aquatic habitat. All of these plants are within 100 feet of the shoreline.

Our harbor is in the midst of a major toxic cleanup and has a higher-than-average level of microplastics. The health department puts up signs stating that shellfish are not safe for consumption. This aquatic area needs special attention and care, not a new and additional environmental attack.

Our community prides itself on its environmental concerns, yet our City Council has approved changing long-term safety policies to protect the environment. Herbicide fact sheets from the Journal of Pesticide Reform show concerns about Triclopyr, its chronic toxicity and the damage it does to aquatic life and salmon, which we are trying to restore.

Triclopyr is illegal in Denmark and Sweden, and our state Department of Transportation also expresses its concerns. I’m hoping to influence change and go back to the elimination of these herbicides in our community. I hope that we can find alternative means to manage invasive plants, even though English holly is not on the state Noxious Weed List.

Andy Rovelstad