Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

North Tampa residents win battle to stop chemical use at golf course

TAMPA — People who live around the Babe Zaharias Golf Course have won their yearlong battle to stop the Tampa Sports Authority from using a pesticide that some say has made them sick.

But it wasn't the authority that gave in to the group's demands.

Chemical giant Dow AgroSciences decided Thursday to cancel an application of the soil fumigant Curfew next week.

"In light of strong protests and threatened actions of a vocal group of residents and activists, Dow AgroSciences will not place the applicator, itself, or the product in a volatile situation that could result in unfounded allegations, the unnecessary expenditure of regulatory resources or potential litigation," Dow officials told the authority in a written statement, adding that the agency has failed to defuse the controversy.

Curfew applications will continue on other golf courses in Florida, the company said.

Robert Lawson was among those fighting the use of Curfew on North Tampa's Babe Zaharias Golf Course, which is owned by the city and managed by the Tampa Sports Authority.

There are about 1,100 homes in the neighborhood association that includes the course, and several hundred homes adjacent to it.

Lawson lives on the course's third fairway. In 2006, fumes from the chemical made him sick, he said. "I thought I was having a heart attack," he said.

But appeals to the Sports Authority, Tampa City Council, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, Gov. Charlie Crist and even President Barack Obama went nowhere.

"We got no response from any of the politicians. None," Lawson said. "It's unconscionable not only for them to use this stuff but to make us go through what we had to go through to prevent it."

Earlier this month, Lawson and his neighbors filed complaints with local, state and federal environmental regulators.

Curfew is used to control nematodes and mole crickets. Its active ingredient is 1,3-dichloropropene. The product's warning label says its vapors can cause kidney, lung and liver damage and death if inhaled. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies it as a probable carcinogen.

Curfew's active ingredient has been sold for use on farms since 1975. Dow won approval to sell Curfew for use on golf courses and sports fields in Florida in 2001. At the time, the label required a 100-foot buffer from homes and other occupied buildings.

In 2007, Dow received approval from the Florida Department of Agriculture to reduce the buffer zone to 30 feet. Dow gave state regulators a report from the EPA that said, based on studies provided by Dow, Curfew could be safely used with no buffer at all.

But the research on Curfew and golf courses isn't conclusive. Most studies have focused on farms, where it is applied differently and at higher rates than on golf courses.

Curfew also has the potential to contaminate groundwater. It is not sold in northern states because cold temperatures make it more likely to poison drinking water. And it's not sold in Miami-Dade County because of concerns about the aquifer.

The Tampa Sports Authority will explore other options for treating the golf course, said spokeswoman Barbara Casey.

"We certainly intend to take the best care of the course that we can," she said. "This is a city course. A lot of people rely on us."

Janet Zink can be reached at jzink@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3401.

North Tampa residents win battle to stop chemical use at golf course 07/17/09 [Last modified: Saturday, July 18, 2009 12:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trigaux: How Moffitt Cancer's M2Gen startup won $75 million from Hearst

    Business

    TAMPA — A Moffitt Cancer Center spin-off that's building a massive genetic data base of individual patient cancer information just caught the attention of a deep-pocketed health care investor.

    Richard P. Malloch is the president of Hearst Business Media, which is announcing a $75 million investment in M2Gen, the for-profit cancer informatics unit spun off by Tampa's Moffitt Cancer Center. Malloch's job is to find innovative investments for the Hearst family fortune. A substantial amount has been invested in health care, financial and the transportation and logistics industries.
  2. A boat lays on its side off the shore of Sainte-Anne on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, early Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, after the passing of Hurricane Maria. [Dominique Chomereau-Lamotte | Associated Press]
  3. 7.1 magnitude quake kills at least 149, collapses buildings in Mexico

    World

    MEXICO CITY — A magnitude 7.1 earthquake stunned central Mexico on Tuesday, killing at least 149 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust. Thousands fled into the streets in panic, and many stayed to help rescue those trapped.

    A woman is lifted on a stretcher from of a building that collapsed during an earthquake in Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. [Rebecca Blackwell | Associated Press]
  4. FHP seeks semitrailer truck driver that left fiery wreck on I-75

    Accidents

    TAMPA — The Florida Highway Patrol is looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an Interstate 75 crash that left another car burning on Tuesday afternoon.

    Troopers were looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an accident scene on Interstate 75 in Tampa on Tuesday afternoon that caused a car to catch fire. [Courtesy of Florida Highway Patrol]
  5. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.