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Evanston, IL Passes Pesticide Reduction Policy

(Beyond Pesticides, May 17, 2010) The City of Evanston in Cook County, Illinois has passed a resolution to reduce pesticide use on City-owned and leased property (buildings and grounds) when the City Council unanimously adopted the “Sustainable Pest Control and Pesticide Reduction Policy” on April 26, 2010. The policy requires City employees, agents and contractors to follow natural lawn care and “least-toxic Integrated Pest Management” (IPM) and prohibits high hazards pesticides. It shouldn’t be too difficult for the City, as according to Evanston’s website, the City “has been applying minimal to no pesticides or insecticides in its municipal parks and on City owned properties since the early 1990s.”

IPM is described in the policy as, “A pest management technique that gives preference to the safest pest control methods and uses conventional chemical pesticides only when no other feasible alternative exists. It addresses the underlying causes of pest problems, and seeks to find effective long-term solutions that emphasize prevention.” The City will hold a training session at least once every two years for managers and staff responsible for pest management on City property. All contractors engaged in pest management on City property are also required to attend the trainings or must show proof of equivalent education.

The policy established an IPM Coordinator to oversee policy implementation. The IPM Coordinator is also responsible for maintaining links to the list of prohibited pesticides on the City’s website. Pesticides that are prohibited to be used on City property include:
– U.S. EPA known, probable, likely, possible or suspected carcinogens;
– U.S. EPA Toxicity Category I and II pesticides (These pesticides are identified by the words ‘DANGER’ or ‘WARNING’ on the label); and,
– Chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity (Proposition 65).
In addition, every two years, the IPM Coordinator is required to submit a report on the City’s use of pesticides and reduction efforts to City Council.

The City has two years before the IPM and pesticide use restrictions go in effect. In the meantime, beginning on May 26, 2010, pesticide use notification signs are required to be posted at least 72 hours prior to an application and remain for at least four days after the application.

The resolution also states that the City will educate the public and private sector on natural lawn care and IPM practices.

Based on the City Council meeting minutes, it seems that the policy has been in the works for a couple of years as City employees have been researching other municipalities in the U.S. and Canada that have passed similar policies (see collected research starting on page 3). The Safer Pest Control Project, an Illinois based non-profit organization, worked closely with the Evanston Environment Board to create and advocate for this resolution.

Similar to Evanston’s new policy, New York City Local Law 37, passed in 2005, also promotes the reduction of pesticides on property owned or leased by NY City through IPM and pesticides prohibited for use; requires annual IPM reports and the management of a website the lists the prohibited pesticides. There are also similarities with San Francisco’s ordinance, passed in 1996, which requires all city departments to implement an IPM program; ban the use of pesticides linked to cancer, reproductive harm, and those that are most acutely toxic; publish reports on the status of the IPM/pesticide reduction policy; and, maintain a website for easy access to information for implementation.

These aren’t the only cities with such policies. The passage of pesticide-free and pesticide reduction policies are taking place around the country. For example, 38 communities in New Jersey have passed IPM and pesticide-free zone policies and the New York State Parks Department passed an IPM and pesticide-free zones policy. This is just the tip of the iceberg, as new policies and programs are continually being implemented by local and state government entities as well as schools and homeowner associations. For a fuller list of examples see Beyond Pesticides activist tools pages.



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