Local News

Herbicide Used Improperly at Chapel Hill School

Posted June 12, 2007

— Weed killer was improperly sprayed on athletic fields at a Chapel Hill middle school last month, according to school district officials.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Assistant Superintendent Steve Scroggs said the district has suspended spreading weed killer on fields used for competitions after it determined state safety procedures had been violated.

Scroggs sent an e-mail to parents of Smith Middle School students over the weekend about the incident and the district's plans.

A lawn care company employed by the district spread fertilizer coated with a pre-emergent herbicide on the school's football and soccer fields, Scroggs said. At the same time, a worker sprayed crabgrass on the fields with a chemical called Trimec, he said.

Trimec is classified as "slightly toxic" by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and requires a 72-hour notice of parents before use, Scroggs said. The garden sprayer used for application also violated safety procedures, he said.

He doesn't think any children became ill because of the application.

The district plans to review its use of herbicides on athletic fields and will stress adherence to safety guidelines by all contractors, he said.


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  • baracus Jun 13, 2007

    Everybody take a deep breath. They didn't really overreact. It's not like they called the hazmat teams out or something. If you read the email, there is no suggestion to start the kids on an immediate detox program or anything. Apparently it is state law that school administrators notify parents of the schedule for herbicide/pesticide application as well as give 72 hour notice for unscheduled applications.

  • independent-opinion Jun 12, 2007

    Interesting reporting. First, Trimec is a broadleaf weed control consisting of 2-4-D and Dicamba, it will not dammage crabgrass. Unless of course it is the Trimec Southern which also includes MSMA which is designed to control both broadleaf weeds and grassy weeds. Which one was it? Also in many years of using these products I have not once read a lable or MSDS which requires notification in advance of application. NY state is the only place I know that has any notification rules. The application rate is 1oz. of trimec in 1 gal. of water per 1000sq.ft.. Lets see- 1 divided by 128 = .0078, that means the application consisted of .992% water. The EPA lists the consentrate as "Slightly Toxic" not the mixed spray.

    Pesticides of any kind should be handled carefully but when applied properly they pose little if any risk. Reactionary reporting does little to educate the public, it just creates fear.

  • shine Jun 12, 2007

    Only in Chapel Thrill......... worse than California or .Cary

  • Uncle Paul Jun 12, 2007

    My kid goes to a OC school w/ a nature trail that is over run by poison ivy, the staff said they can't use herbicide nor inceticide on the fire ant mounds

  • apmcn Jun 12, 2007

    can these people not remember the things they did as kids? maybe they weren't like me..... people amaze me. I guess this is similar to moes having to get rid of the colored chips because they used dye in them.

  • shine Jun 12, 2007

    Only in Chapel Thrill - How about all the parents that either use a lawn care company or use it personally on their yards at home. What a joke - grow up