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Daily News Archive

Santa Barbara City Adopts Pesticide Reduction Policy
(Beyond Pesticides, February 4, 2004)
After three years of groundwork by the Environmental Defense Center (EDC), the Santa Barbara City Council unanimously approved a least-toxic pesticide program that will immediately result in pesticide reduction on all City properties.

The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) policy vote came after nearly a hundred individuals and families came out to voice their support. The policy, adopted January 27th, 2004, immediately commits the City to pesticide reduction practices, with the goal of becoming a pesticide-free city.

As adopted, the IPM policy mandates reduction and elimination of the most toxic pesticides from all City-owned properties and departments. This policy also provides for bilingual public notification for any applications in public areas, the development of an “Approved List” of acceptable pest management materials, and the creation of a City-run IPM Committee that will include members of the public. Under the policy, 15 of the City’s 55 parks will immediately become pesticide free. Those parks not on the list of 15 will implement “pesticide-free spray zones if they contain playgrounds, picnic benches and/or creeks. Finally, this IPM policy commits the City to an ultimate goal of becoming entirely pesticide free.

“We thank the City for their work and commitment, and we look forward to ensuring a successful program,” said Eric Cárdenas, Director of EDC’s Central Coast Environmental Health Project (CCEHP). “As with any new program, there will be obstacles to overcome. I think everyone realizes this but is committed to making the program work.”

EDC, a non-profit public interest environmental law firm, has worked closely with the Pesticide Awareness and Alternatives Coalition (PAAC) and City staff to develop a program that allows options for pest management, but which also removes the most hazardous materials from use by the City. In addition to immediate implementation of the policy, the City must continue to evaluate and remove pesticides determined to be of high risk to the public or environmental health.

For more information, contact Eric Cárdenas, Central Coast Environmental Health Project (CCEHP), 906 Garden St., Santa Barbara, Ca. 93101, 805.963.1622 ext. 111, cardenas@edcnet.org.

Mercury bioaccumulates in the food chain, and human beings are mainly exposed to mercury by eating fish and other kinds of seafood. Although all fish contain some amount of mercury, predator fish at the top of the food chain, such as shark, swordfish and tuna, have the highest levels.

The committee specifically recommended that EPA:

— Evaluate the proposal's health risks to children and women of childbearing age and how those risks might be different under other regulatory options;
— Evaluate the possibility that hot spots could result from the proposed trading program; and
— Analyze the technologies, costs, health impact and economic benefits before choosing a regulatory option.

Source: Natural Resources Defense Council
, nrdcinfo@nrdc.org or (212) 727-2700.

TAKE ACTION: If you are concerned about the Bush Administration’s proposal to allow further mercury pollution to contaminate our environment, please contact Mr. Micheal
Leavitt, EPA Administrator, by email, phone: 202-564-4711, or fax: 202-501-1470. You may also write your regional EPA or your local members of congress. When writing your member of Congress please also ask them to contact President Bush and EPA Administrator Micheal Leavitt about this important issue.