Are The Costs of Toxic Judgement Looming For Our Parks?


On Friday, August 10, 2018 Monsanto, maker of Roundup, a herbicide used in Boca’s parks, was ordered to pay $289 million dollars in damages to a groundskeeper in San Francisco who claimed his terminal cancer was due to years of using it at work. While scientists debate whether the long term effects of Roundup cause cancer the legal system is responding more quickly; sympathizing with suffering people and punishing big business whose negligence was ignoring costs and brushing liabilities under the rug.

Recent citizen pleas to Boca Raton City Officials, reported by BocaWatch in recent stories, petitioned our City Officials to stop purchasing these toxic chemicals. However in the last four (4) Boca Raton budgets, City Council members, including Acting Mayor Scott Singer and Deputy Mayor Jeremy Rodgers, have approved expenditures of some $1.2 million dollars for the purchase and continuing use of these dangerous chemicals.  In this year’s latest appropriation, the only City Council member who voted ‘no’ to this purchase was Council-member Monica Mayotte.  Kudos!!!

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Is that where the costs will end though? 

Glyphosate is a white solid powder, an organophosphate herbicide, the active ingredient in the mixtures Monsanto markets as ‘RoundUp.’ The City sprays it in our parks and on our beach to control weeds. When sprayed it is mixed with a blue dye that makes it easier to visualize the dose, easier to see where it’s already been applied with no posted warnings. Unfortunately it colors the rocks a pretty blue, an attractive color that almost looks decorative. Generally, there’s no sign when it’s applied. Park visitors are expected to understand that blue rocks mean poison. Little kids are expected to understand that pretty blue rocks aren’t good to collect; in fact they might be quite dangerous.

There’s no magic spell that keeps us, our children, protected from the same disease the man in the judgement is dying from. There’s no magic barrier that keeps blue dust from blowing into neighbor’s yards. There’s no guarantee the same thing that happened in San Francisco can’t happen here. There’s no guarantee one of our groundskeepers won’t get even more sick, or that two of them won’t, or more. There’s no guarantee that kids won’t pick up blue rocks. There’s no guarantee that a jury might think a rich-old-city needs to learn a lesson or two if it’s a kid that gets sick, or two, or more.

Not only are we gambling with people’s lives – but think why we’re doing it – to save costs. It’s cheaper and faster than hand-weeding, weed-eating, or mowing. Are people’s lives and/or all the funds earmarked for disasters worth it? How many lives are we risking? For what?

Boca Raton is a wealthy city; a city with an estimated $19 Billion Dollar tax base and rising.  The additional costs to replace the use of these toxic chemicals; to stop exposing our children to harmful health dangers; and, to protect defenseless critters from debilitating harm, is but a mere ‘Roundup’ item in the grand scheme of the Boca Raton budget.

What are we waiting for?

Al Zucaro
Publisher – BocaWatch

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Alfred Zucaro has resided in Palm Beach County since 1982 and has been a resident of Boca Raton since 2008. A graduate of Fordham University, he holds a Magna Cum Laude degree in Economics. Mr. Zucaro attended Nova University receiving a Juris Doctorate Law Degree in 1986. He is a member in good standing with the Florida Bar, practicing in the area of Immigration Law for the majority of his career. Currently he is manager/member of Palm Beach Investment and Finance LLC, a USCIS approved regional center identifying foreign investment leading to permanent resident status. Mr. Zucaro served as a City Commissioner in West Palm Beach from 1995 to 2002 and as the President of the City Commission in 2000/2001. He has also been a member of and/or served on the Economic Council, the Business Development Board, the Film and Television Commission, the Tourist Development Council, the Workforce Alliance and the Palm Beach International Film Festival. Of particular interest is his founding of the World Trade Center Palm Beach, an organization that focuses on international economic development. Married to Yvonne Boice, they are avid world travelers having visited 6 continents and dozens of countries since their 2008 nuptials.


  1. Round up is used all over the world. I have no special interest but to believe only one person, out of the many hundreds of millions who are exposed to it daily, got sick just doesn’t make any sense to me. I might also add that it is MONSANTO that got sued, not the municipality .It seems to me that you are doing a little fear mongering here. I respect you more than this and appreciate your points of views on many subjects–just think you didn’t think this one through

  2. The concern may have been debatable a week ago. But now? This landscaper guy getting this settlement in San Fran changes the situation. If the City, as a muni, claimed its widespread use made it less culpable for past exposure, OK. But if I was doing the purchasing moving forward I’d be looking for alternatives quick. We were blissfully unaware of any jury awards around glyphos exposure yesterday but today is a different deal.

    PLEASE find under the category ‘NATURE IN BOCA RATON’ the following:
    In that article, please select the blue print titled: ‘PROTECT OUR PARKS’ – this will open up a 28 page colorful document with the scientific, international information that was presented over 2 years ago to City Council in a video you can WATCH — find it in the recent article by Jim Wood under Boca Raton Politics category:
    “Wanted: Boca Raton City Leaders Who Will Lead” (7/26/2018)
    For further SCIENTIFIC, DOCUMENTED RESEARCH, residents are encourage to go to:
    On their website there is a wealth of the TRUTH and all lawsuits internationally and nationally are documented there. Organic Consumers Assocation and Beyond Pesticides just had an AMAZING WIN themselves regarding mislabeling claiming “Safe for People and Pets”… Judge ruled “literally FALSE”… FINALLY!!

    Going natural/organic in our entire City is NOT MORE EXPENSIVE!! By utilizing the newest technology combined with simple remedies from our Grandparents time, going ‘GREEN’ will actually save hundreds of thousands of dollars in the next few years and keep our residents and workers SAFE from toxic synthetic chemicals!!
    GREEN BOCA NOW has presented excellent alternatives to toxic chemicals to our Parks Department and City Council on numerous occasions – all has been documented… PLEASE CALL YOUR CITY COUNCIL AND ASK THEM TO PLEASE GO GREEN!! THANK YOU AL ZUCARO FOR ALWAYS SUPPORTING BOCA ‘GOING GREEN’ FOR MANY YEARS NOW!!


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