[Parentsgroup-list] Herbicide and Fertilizer applied to grounds around Harvard Housing Units

Sebastian Velez svelez at oeb.harvard.edu
Wed May 26 14:34:38 EDT 2010

Forgot to add, on a related note, I don't let my daughter play on that
grass. Not because of the fertilizer/pesticide, but because of the dog
feces the owners don't pick up.


On Wed, May 26, 2010 at 2:27 PM, Sebastian Velez <svelez at oeb.harvard.edu> wrote:
> Hi guys:
> I'm a resident of the area and walk with my child and dog around Grant
> St. I'm also an Agronomist by training, and worked for 6 years or a
> large landscape contractor.
> I'm all for less toxic chemicals, but here you are dealing with some
> of the most commonly used and probably safest alternatives out there.
> SURGE's main ingredient is 2,4-D, which you've probably drank a few
> gallons yourself already if you eat anything containing the seeds of
> monocot plants (corn, wheat, ect.). It's been used for 40+ years, and
> it's registered (=permitted to use) by the EPA in home lawns.
> The fertilizer is probably just your standard mix of Nitrogen,
> Phosphorus and Potassium (probably based on urea), which is what 100%
> of the non-organic produce in the world is grown on. It's probably
> been applied to probably 100% of any lawn you've stepped on in your
> life. It's not the most environmentally friendly in terms of
> production, but it's not dangerous either. The alternative is to use
> organic fertilizers, which paradoxically bring more complaints than
> non-organic because of their smell. Ask the office of sustainability
> about all the bitchin' from the undergrads when they started using
> organic fertilizer at The Yard.
> S
> On Wed, May 26, 2010 at 12:51 PM, Simone Ispa-Landa
> <ispaland at fas.harvard.edu> wrote:
>> Dear Harvard Parents --
>> I live on Grant Street, in HRES Housing... Some of you may, too. I
>> just wanted to let you know that I recently discovered that, when they
>> recently did their spring upkeep, they used SURGE Broadleaf Herbicide
>> for Turf and LEBANON LANDSCAPE fertilizer. (You may see those yellow
>> signs in the lawns warning us to stay off the lawns around Grant St.
>> and the DeWolfe Housing Units.)  We e-mailed the Sustainability Office
>> and contacted HRES to ask if there might be a better alternative --
>> (see below for copies of the e-mails we sent).  In any case, if you
>> have any information about better alternatives, are concerned, or
>> simply want to be in the loop about this problem, please e-mail me at
>> ispaland at fas.harvard.edu.
>> Thanks!
>> Simone
>> Good morning to all at the Sustainability Office:
>> Let me join my next door neighbor, Simone Ispa-Land, in raising
>> concern about the spraying of the lawns close and contiguous with the
>> open windows of our residences facing onto Grant Street and backing
>> onto  lawns sprayed last week. We are a quiet, residential
>> neighborhood, surrounded by lawns where many children and dogs and
>> their adult parents and partners are constantly at play on the lawns
>> and in the gardens.
>> We are very concerned about the spraying of the lawns and, perhaps
>> gardens. Last week, after the spraying, I went to the Harvard Housing
>> offices at 8-10 Mount Auburn to speak with them: they supplied us with
>> the descriptive sheets related to SURGE Broadleaf Herbicide for Turf
>> and LEBANON LANDSCAPE fertilizer.
>> The issue is important to all in the neighborhood, Harvard affiliates
>> and others who walk their children and dogs along the pathways on the
>> streets and in the passages behind the houses. We enjoy being outside
>> in this lovely season, but the spraying causes us concern about being
>> on the lawns and in contact with the residue of the
>> herbicides/fertilizers.
>> We look forward to working with The Office of Sustainability so as to
>> support the health and well-being of all residents in our neighborhood
>> and others under the care of Harvard Real Estate Services.
>> With all best regards,
>> Carol Bankerd
>> 8 Grant Street, #2
>> ________________________________________
>> From: ispaland at gmail.com [ispaland at gmail.com] On Behalf Of Simone
>> Ispa-Landa [ispaland at fas.harvard.edu]
>> Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 9:29 AM
>> To: sustainability at harvard.edu
>> Cc: Bankerd, Carol; leasing at harvard.edu
>> Subject: Herbicide and Fertilizer applied to grounds around Harvard
>> Housing     Units
>> Dear Sustainability Office,
>> I am writing because I am a Harvard Housing tenant with a small child,
>> as are many of our neighbors. I live in the 6 1/2 Grant St. unit.
>> Recently, HRES (Harvard Real Estate) Operational Services applied an
>> herbicide and fertilizer on the grounds near our apartment.
>> Thankfully, they put up yellow signs stating that we should stay off
>> the lawns for three days, and sent an e-mail message around stating
>> that the herbicide was "EPA approved." I was very appreciative for
>> these messages, as I would not want my child to be harmed by the
>> corrosive and toxic chemicals contained in these pesticides and
>> fertilizers.   At the same time, I am very concerned about our
>> personal safety and the environmental damage that these chemicals
>> could cause. I recently discovered that they applied SURGE Broadleaf
>> Herbicide for Turf and LEBANON PROSCAPE Fertilizer.  After reading a
>> bit about these products, I am even more concerned.  Is there any way
>> that we could work together with HRES to find a more safe and
>> sustainable alternative?
>> Thanks very much.
>> Simone
>> --
>> Simone Ispa-Landa
>> Spencer Dissertation Fellow, 2009-2010
>> Sociology Department, Harvard University
>> ispaland at fas.harvard.edu
>> --
>> Simone Ispa-Landa
>> Spencer Dissertation Fellow, 2009-2010
>> Sociology Department, Harvard University
>> ispaland at fas.harvard.edu
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