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Neighborhood Successfully Halts Utility's Spraying of Herbicides
Pesticides, June 25, 2004) Northeast Utilities has decided
to halt the spraying of herbicides for one year along a 2000-foot stretch
of a power canal in Turners Falls, Massachusetts, reports The
Recorder. Last week’s decision comes after a year of
debate between residents and the power company about the health effects
of using the toxic chemicals so close to their homes.
The debate was sparked
in July 2003, after Samantha Haskins, a 2-year-old who lived alongside
the canal, died suddenly from seizures shortly after chemicals were
sprayed. After Samantha's death, neighbors in the 19th century neighborhood
known as "The Patch" began documenting other health problems
they believed were associated with the spraying. Those problems included
asthma and serious illnesses with their cats and dogs.
Northeast Utilities contends that their herbicides are safe and were
in no way connected to Samantha Haskins death, and the decision was
made out of respect for neighbor’s concerns. Neighborhood activist
and founder of People Against Toxic Herbicides, Dale Moss was thrilled
about the decision, and said that other neighbors were as well. She
says of Northeast Utilities, "I'm glad to see them being the good
neighbor they've always said they wanted to be and agreeing not to do
spraying, at least this year, in the patch, we'll see about next year
when that comes around," Moss said. This story is an excellent
example of how communities can work together to affect change.
Numerous health problems have been linked to commonly used herbicides,
cancer in dogs. One of the herbicides used by Northeast Utilities
a very widely used herbicide which has been associated with many health
problems, including nausea, elevated blood pressure, head-ache, and
flu-like symptoms. It has also been linked to non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
ACTION: This story is a perfect of how communities
can work together to affect change. Find out more about local activism
in your state
or community. To read more about alternatives to toxic herbicides
for controlling weeds in right of ways, read in “Right
Way to Vegetation Management." Our website also has some excellent
resources for community organizing. See this “How to” sheet
Pesticide Pollution Locally.