Letters from Residents – March 2017

To Michael McClean, MDAR,  from Jim McCauley

To Michael McClean, MDAR,  from Laura Kelley


To Michael McClean, MDAR,  from James R. Hild of Brewster
I am writing to you out of concern that EVERSOURCE plans spraying herbicidal applications on Cape Cod’s power lines, which can potentially poison a swath of land 150 miles long and 200 feet wide—more than 5 square miles. There are safe alternatives!
      EVERSOURCE should cut and mow the vegetation as they have done in the past, which will help protect our water supply and environment.
      Experts from around the world, part of The Pesticide Action Network International  (PAN International), released a review of Glyphosate on October 11, 2016 that documents the adverse human health and environmental impacts of glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides.
      Adverse human impacts include acute poisoning, kidney and liver damage, imbalances in the intestinal bacteria and functioning, cancer, genotoxicity, endocrine disruption, reproductive and developmental effects, neurological damage, and immune system dysfunction.
      Environmental impacts include adverse effects on ecosystem functioning, pollination services, biological controls, soil fertility and crop health.
      Residues are widespread in the environment, including in rainwater, surface and ground waters, and the marine environment. Glyphosate can persist in some soils for up to 3 years; and there is some evidence that it accumulates in tissues.  Glyphosate is included in PAN International’s “List of Highly Hazardous Pesticides” targeted for global phase-out.
Respectfully submitted,
James R Hild
252 Cranview Road
Brewster, MA 02631


From James Garb, MD. to Mr .Lebeaux and Mr. McClean of MDAR, with reply

Dear Mr. Lebeaux and Mr. McClean,

The Cape is virtually unanimous in its desire to not have toxic herbicides sprayed along Eversource’s power lines, which run directly above or in close proximity to our sole source aquifer.  The EPA is behind the curve when it comes to determining how hazardous these chemicals are, and they are being banned in other countries. Glyphosate has been designated a probable human carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer.  It is an endocrine disruptor and causes other human health problems.  In addition, glyphosate causes harm to other species, including pollinators and amphibians.  It disrupts the food chain and disrupts the entire ecosystem.  The other herbicides used by Eversource also have significant toxicities.  They are supposed to be used when wind speeds are less than 10 miles per hour, however documentation provided to us indicates that they have routinely been used when the wind speeds were much higher, resulting in considerable drift of these agents to areas where they were not intended to be applied.

Other methods of vegetation control, such as cutting and pruning, are effective and not harmful to the environment as toxic herbicides are.  And other communities around the country are moving away from the use of these herbicides.  Cape Cod is a fragile ecosystem and should be protected from this unnecessary application of toxic chemicals.  Due to the unique environment on Cape Cod, not to mention its iconic status known for its natural beauty, we should be a leader in  the use of other non-hazardous options for vegetation management.


James R. Garb, MD
Occupational and Environmental Medicine Consultant
Yarmouth Port, MA

Dr. Garb,

I am in receipt of your message and am sharing it with appropriate staff to have it properly incorporated into the record.
Thank you for your comments.

John  Lebeaux
Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
251 Causeway St, Suite 500
Boston, MA 02114
office 617.626.1701/fax 617.626.1850