Minneapolis Parks and Rec looks for alternative to Roundup weed killer chemical

As of the first of the year, it will no longer use the common weed-killing chemical in the city. Now, they're hoping to find an alternative to the herbicide.

For some time now the chemical glyphosate, which is most commonly used as a weed killer in products like Roundup, has sparked some controversy and some questions of potential health risks.

Several years ago use of the chemical glyphosate in and around Minneapolis parks and playgrounds stopped.

“The Park Board has been gradually reducing our usage of glyphosate,” said Christopher Meyer, a Park Board Commissioner.

Now, the city and the board are looking to stop use of the controversial chemical all together.

“Now that it’s a possible carcinogen, or classified as such, I think people are pretty worried about it,” Meyer said.

The controversy surrounding glyphosate emerged three years ago when the World Health Organization found the chemical to be a possible carcinogen.  

More recently, the chemical used in weed killers like RoundUp has been appearing in popular cereals.

In light of its potentially harmful effects, the Parks and Recreation Board announced a moratorium on glyphosate and decided to establish a new committee to help find an alternative.

“Their task is to help us evaluate other pesticides, because the last thing we want to do is stop using glyphosate and start suing something worse,” Meyer added.

He says their goal is to be pesticide free, but they need the committee to help determine if that is possible.

“We want them to evaluate the tradeoffs and tell us is it going to be more labor intensive. Would it mean that we would have to deal with more buckthorn? Or more invasive species?” Meyer asked.

Right now, Meyer says the invasive species will likely be their biggest obstacle.

However, Meyer says the board hopes with the collaboration of this new committee, they can be leaders not only in the city, but around the country.

Right now, Meyer says golf courses are one of the places the city uses glyphosate. 

This new committee will consist of 15 members whose goal will be to find an alternative to glyphosate.

If you’re interested in applying, visit the parks website. The deadline to apply is Nov. 8.