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New Jersey Steps Up Effort to Ban Pesticides in Parks

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2007) The borough of Fairlawn, New Jersey joined 11 other boroughs in banning pesticides from public play areas. The borough declared its parks pesticide-free and will post a “pesticide-free zone” sign at every playground in the borough.

The Record reported that:

Volunteers from the New Jersey Environmental Federation canvassed borough neighborhoods last spring asking residents to support the program, spokeswoman Jane Nogaki said. Mayor Steve Weinstein said those residents sent him hundreds of letters.

Lisa Lovermi and Randi Willey, who were walking through the park on their lunch break, said they always assumed borough parks were safe, but they thought a sign could help put park users’ minds at ease.

“You’d think that a park is supposed to be a natural environment,” Lovermi said. “You wouldn’t think there would be pesticides.”

New Jersey limited the use of pesticides on school grounds in 2002. But the recent discovery of dangerous levels of chemicals in the soil next to a Paramus middle school and several other North Jersey schools had many residents questioning the safety of their yards and play areas.

Organizers of the pesticide-free park campaign are trying to rally support for a county- or statewide policy. The Assembly is considering a bill to limit the use of pesticides in state parks and forests.

Nogaki said she hoped campaigning in residential areas would also make people reconsider the chemicals they use every day.

“When you knock on doors and say, ‘Would you like your parks to be pesticide-free?’ who’s going to say no?” Ms. Nogaki said. “The message you would like them to take home is, ‘What about what I’m doing on my own property.’ “

For information on localities that have adopted pesticide-free park policies, click here. For information on organizing on this issue see Beyond Pesticides’ Lawns and Landscapes Tools for Change page.

Source: The Record


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