Herbicide Garlon’s use questioned in Central Manitoulin

To the Expositor:

I am concerned about the proposed use of Forestry Garlon XRT along Highway 542 in Central Manitoulin.

Garlon XRT is a herbicide which uses triclopyr. The drum label is available online and I am quoting some of the information from the label.

Garlon XRT comes in 30-gallon HDPE drums. After usage, the drums require triple rinsing and puncturing for safe disposal. Where does the rinse water go?

“Garlon XRT causes substantial but temporary eye injury,” the label reads. “This pesticide is toxic to fish. Do not apply directly to water, or to areas where surface water is present. The use of this chemical in areas where soils are permeable, particularly where the water table is shallow, may result in groundwater contamination. Except for lactating dairy animals, there are no restrictions following application of this product. Do not allow lactating dairy animals to graze treated areas until the next growing season following application of this product. Do not harvest hay until 14 days after application of this product.”

Tehkummah council’s intervention has hopefully prevented the product from affecting The Garden Gate Restaurant vegetable garden by the side of the road, the spring drinking water used at The Garden’s Gate Restaurant, Blue Jay Creek Art Farm’s vegetable garden by the highway, Blue Jay Creek itself, the Blue Jay Creek Fish Culture Station. But in Central Manitoulin, Williamsons’ and others’ pastures, hayfields, the Manitou River, Big Lake, Long Lake, Phantom Lake and the underground stream connecting at Hare’s Creek and possibly the water intake for Mindemoya at Lake Mindemoya will be vulnerable if Garlon is allowed to be applied in our municipality.

We have experienced deluges this spring and our soil is still waterlogged. Would heavy rainfalls concentrate or dilute Garlon?

Do we need to put this dangerous chemical into our ecosystem? Our provincial government has banned cosmetic use of pesticides and herbicides on lawns, restricted access to these products, yet gives construction companies the right to use them when bidding on northern highway maintenance.

We recently read about the negative health effects of Agent Orange on people using it decades ago in our provincial forests. Will this scenario repeat itself with Garlon in the future?

Algis Tribinevicius
Drumlin Farm, Sandfield