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Costa Mesa council study session will focus on strategies for weed and pest management

Costa Mesa council members will discuss the city’s Integrated Pest Management plan — which essentially guides local weed and pest-control strategies — during a study session Tuesday.

Among the topics that will likely be touched on is the use of glyphosate, a common herbicide and primary ingredient in the weed killer Roundup.

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The chemical has been the subject of debate in recent years as some agencies have labeled it a possible carcinogen.

In December, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said there was no evidence that glyphosate causes cancer — an assessment that contradicted other conclusions from California regulators and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization.

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According to Costa Mesa staff, citywide use of glyphosate has decreased by roughly 85% since the 2013-14 fiscal year and has been replaced with organic materials and increased use of mulch, which can naturally prevent weeds from sprouting in planters and tree wells.

Other Orange County cities have also reduced their application of synthetic pesticides in recent years.

Irvine, for instance, prioritizes the use of organic compounds and manual or mechanical weeding on city property while San Juan Capistrano uses only organic materials to treat weeds in its parks.

Huntington Beach is also testing organic pesticides on a portion of Central Park.

Costa Mesa could pursue further eliminating the use of synthetic pesticides, but that would likely increase landscape maintenance costs, according to city staff.

Tuesday’s study session will start at 5 p.m. in City Hall, 77 Fair Drive.

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