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From March 13, 2006                                                                                                        

City of Olympia Says Yes to Reducing Toxic Pesticides
(Beyond Pesticides, March 13, 2006) The Olympia City Council unanimously adopted a new resolution that will reduce the purchase and use of pesticides and persistent toxic chemicals. According to a press release issued by the Washington Toxics Coalition, Olympia Resolution M-1621 will ensure that the most toxic pesticides will not be used in city parks and it also directs the city to reduce purchases of products such as PVC pipes, chlorine-bleached paper, and mercury thermostats. Olympia Resolution M1621 is the first of its kind in the state to address both pesticides and persistent toxic chemicals together.

Organizing efforts for the resolution was successfully accomplished by a local coalition known as the Healthy Olympia Task Force that included dozens of Olympia residents, the Black Hills Audubon Society, People for Puget Sound, and the Washington Toxics Coalition.

"The City of Olympia has shown real leadership in adopting this forward-thinking policy," said Jean MacGregor of the Black Hills Audubon Society. "We can have beautiful parks and buildings without toxic chemicals."

According to Beth Doglio, an Olympia parent and member of the Healthy Olympia Task Force, "pesticides and persistent toxic chemicals pose a real threat to the health of our kids as well as to wildlife like orca whales." Ms. Doglio continued, "the City of Olympia is saying with this resolution that we know we can use healthier methods and materials. I want our city to be a leader in putting health first."

Persistent toxic chemicals include PCBs, mercury, and dioxin, and other chemicals that persist in the environment and build up in the food chain. These chemicals have been linked to certain cancers, birth defects, and other reproductive problems. A report released in the Fall of 2005 showed findings of harmful toxic chemicals including pesticides, PCBs, stain repellants, flame retardants, mercury and lead detected in 100 percent of those tested (See Daily News).

By adopting the resolution, Olympia will join the ranks of a number of Washington cities, counties, and school districts that have ended the use of toxic pesticides that are linked to cancer, asthma and developmental disabilities. Those that have ended the use of toxic pesticides include: the cities of Seattle, Snohomish, Lynnwood, and Bainbridge Island, King and Thurston Counties, as well as seven school districts including Vancouver and Oak Harbor. The City of Seattle also adopted a resolution to reduce its purchase of products containing or contributing to persistent toxic pollution in 2002.

"Cities like Olympia are a bellwether for the movement away from reliance upon toxic chemicals," says Angela Storey, Pesticides Organizer with the Washington Toxics Coalition. "Our children deserve a chemical-free future and communities in Washington are leading the way.
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For more information, contact Angela Storey at Washington Toxics Coalition, astorey@watoxics.org or 206-632-1545 ext. 111.