Herbicide use in Portland Oregon
Hi I have a neighbor who runs a state licensed day care. Her landscaper has applied a mix of crossbow round up earlier this summer and is about to apply a second round tomorrow. When I approached him to ask questions he threatened me. First can a day care use herbicides? Is it safe for the toddlers that play in the dirt the next day? Do they have to use licensed applicators? Do they have to give notice? When an MSDS is asked about do they need to give information? And lastly my yard is full of fruit trees and grapes etc. is it safe for me to eat the fruit this season? Many thanks,
Multnomah County Oregon
Hello and thanks for your questions. These are tough topics.
I'd like to address your questions one-by-one.
"First can a day care use herbicides?"
Yes, they can. There are specific rules in Oregon for pesticides (including herbicides) used on school grounds, but not specifically day care centers. The products must be registered for use in lawns, turf, recreational areas, etc. Crossbow is not registered for this type of area.
Is it safe for the toddlers that play in the dirt the next day?
Before a product is registered for use on lawns, turf, or recreational areas, the EPA performs a risk-assessment that takes into account the special exposures for kids. For example, they know that little kids put everything in their mouths. They account for the risks, making sure the exposure levels fall below the level of concern. However, Crossbow is not registered for this type of site.
Do they have to use licensed applicators?
Both Crossbow and Roundup are not restricted-use pesticides. The owner or operator of the property could apply them without a license. If someone is hired to apply the products, and their primary business is pest control, then they must be licensed. However, if their primary business is "landscaping" - they might not be required to have a license.
Do they have to give notice?
To neighbors? No.
When an MSDS is asked about do they need to give information?
To neighbors? No. If an investigator from the proper agency requested application records (not MSDS), they would be required to provide the requested records. The proper agency in our state is the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA). 503-986-4635
And lastly my yard is full of fruit trees and grapes etc. is it safe for me to eat the fruit this season?
The risks are likely to be low, but this question is not a simple one. I encourage you to call OSU, specifically the National Pesticide Information Center, at 1-800-858-7378 to discuss your produce. How far from the application site? Any signs of herbicide damage on the foliage or fruit? How much time between application and harvest? The pesticide specialist will surely ask you a list of questions to help you think it through, and make a decision for yourself and your family.
Let's come back to Crossbow. It sounds like the applicator may be misunderstanding the label, and using the product in an area where kids may come in contact. You may consider calling ODA to report the concern. I know I've met several applicators who misunderstand the meaning of "non-crop areas" on the Crossbow label. That is not intended to include recreational areas.
Thank you again for your question!
All the best,