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The New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) and Beyond Pesticides applauded the New York City Council and Mayor Bloomberg for enacting this bill and another that requires neighbor notification before commercial landscapers spray pesticides.
"These bills put New York City at the forefront of the national effort to move pest control in a new direction, away from poisons and towards prevention," said Laura Haight, senior environmental associate for NYPIRG, a New York State environmental and consumer advocacy group. "Whole generations of children in New York City have been exposed to pesticides that the EPA subsequently banned because they were unsafe. Fortunately, there are safer and smarter ways of controlling pests that are more effective and far less harmful than using toxic chemicals."
"The new law
recognizes that we do not have to poison people and the environment
to manage buildings and landscapes," said Jay Feldman, executive
director of Beyond Pesticides, a Washington, D.C.-based national environmental
group. Numerous jurisdictions across the country have adopted a similar
law or policy, including San Francisco and Seattle. "New York City
stands out among other jurisdictions because of the sheer number of
people that will benefit from the new law," said Mr. Feldman.
The Neighbor Notification Law (Intro 328A), also signed by the mayor and introduced by Council Members Gennaro and Quinn, requires commercial pesticide applicators to provide 48-hour advance notice to adjacent neighbors before spraying lawns, shrubs and trees with harmful pesticides. Seven counties in New York State have already opted into the law, which was enacted in 2000: Albany, Erie, Nassau, Rockland, Suffolk, Tompkins, and Westchester.
Numerous studies have been conducted about the health effects of pesticide exposures in New York City after a report released by NYPIRG and Environmental Advocates in 1998 revealed that New York City accounts for more than a quarter of the total pesticide use in New York State. Concerns about pesticide health risks also triggered several successful pilot projects in New York City using non-toxic and least toxic methods to control roaches, mice and rats.
"New York City is one of the nation's first, and certainly the largest, cities to take concrete steps to eliminate its use of the most toxic and harmful pesticides," said Ms. Haight. "These two bills are a major step forward in reducing the risk to New Yorkers of harmful pesticide exposure, and will hopefully set an example for other cities to follow. If we can make safer pest control work here, we can make it work anywhere."
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