Roundup pesticide in use at NMSU campus; raises health concerns

Courtesy Roundup

Courtesy Roundup

The commonly used pesticide, Roundup, which has recently raised health concerns, has been banned in several U.S. cities, raising the question of its usage at New Mexico State University.

Roundup and glyphosate-based herbicides have been in the news frequently over concerns about the possibility of the herbicide causing cancer.

According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, many cities around the country have already banned the use of Roundup such as Austin, Texas and Miami, Florida.

Roundup is the brand name of a broad-spectrum glyphosate-based herbicide produced by Monsanto. Glyphosate is the most commonly used herbicide in the United States. Herbicides are used to kill a variety of undesirable weeds for farms, golf courses and landscaping services, such as NMSU’s landscaping and grounds department.

Ralph Jones, manger of landscape and grounds at NMSU, said Roundup has been used for around 45 years on campus, mostly in the turf grass settings.

Jones said Roundup is used due to its strength in killing a wide variety of weeds and keeping more weeds from popping up.

“What we do is wait until about February, late January when the grass is still dormant. We’ll mix Roundup and a pre-emergent and the Roundup will kill anything that’s green that it touches, and then the pre-emergent goes down there and forms a barrier and prohibits any further weeds from germinating, so it’s kind of two shots for the same price in labor,” Jones said.

Many believe that the use of Roundup is unsafe, but Jones says that’s not the case when used properly.

“Most of the chemicals that are manufactured through Monsanto or other companies spend billions of dollars and probably numerous years of research and development to assure that it’s safe, when used by the label instructions and the proper procedures,” Jones said.

While Jones said it is used in a few places on campus, he ensures that the proper procedures are followed to ensure the safety of the workers and students.

“We don’t use any restricted use pesticides on campus,” Jones said. “I’ve gone to training and became a certified applicator of chemicals. That allows us to become more familiar on how to handle and how to apply chemicals in the work place.” 

Jones said that there are some other dangerous pesticides out there, but he won’t be using them on campus.

“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you students and none of my guys would be here if we didn’t have you guys come to school here,” Jones said. “I will let you know, I don’t believe I’ve ever sprayed a pesticide for insects here. I don’t like having insecticides out here and utilized on campus.”

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