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From November 11, 2005                                                                                                           

New Report Details Benefits of Pesticide-Free Parks
(Beyond Pesticides, November 11, 2005) Park managers across the country are establishing pesticide-free parks and finding that they are an innovative and effective way to improve parks and make them into healthy models for their communities. A new report by the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP) shows the many reasons why pesticide-free parks benefit communities.

"Pesticide-free parks can be important models for the rest of the community,” said Megan Kemple, NCAP's pesticide-free parks coordinator. “They demonstrate to families and businesses how to manage pest problems in a way that is healthy for both people and the environment.”

The report, Pesticide-free Parks: It's Time!, focuses on Lane County, OR, but offers advice that all communities can use. NCAP highlights the problems that recent research has linked to pesticide use:

  • Pesticides cause special problems for children. Children are both more exposed to pesticides and more susceptible to their effects. Leading pediatricians recommend protecting children from exposure to pesticides.
  • Pesticides poison 30,000 pets a year, and also increase the risk of serious pet illnesses such as cancer.
  • People who apply pesticides are at risk for health problems like depression, vision problems, cancer, and breathing difficulties.
  • Tiny amounts of pesticides can harm the wildlife that share our parks.
  • Pesticides often pollute our air, rivers, and streams. In the Willamette River basin, over 90 percent of the samples tested by a government agency were contaminated with at least one pesticide.

"Over two hundred million pounds of pesticides that cause these kinds of problems are used every year in urban areas," says Kemple. The parks, she notes, also showcase the many other tools besides toxic chemicals that are available.

TAKE ACTION: Work with your community to help your parks go pesticide-free. Join the National Coalition for Pesticide-Free Lawns or visit www.beyondpesticides.org/lawn.htm. For a copy of the NCAP report, visit www.pesticide.org/pfpreport.pdf.