Bill Proposes Town-Rights To Restrict Lawn Pesticides
(Beyond Pesticides, March 18, 2005) A bill before the state legislature in Connecticut would allow municipalities to restrict the use of pesticides for the cosmetic care of lawn and turf. Connecticut is the latest of several states proposing this type of democratic reform.
The bill, SB 916, was introduced by Sen. Edward Meyer and Rep. Joe Mioli and is facing fierce opposition from the chemical industry lobby. Under current law, Connecticut towns and cities – like most across the country - are prohibited from imposing more stringent pesticide regulations than those permitted by state law. According to an article in Detroit News, Allen James, president of Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment, a pesticide-industry lobbying group opined that, "Local communities generally do not have the expertise on issues about pesticides to make responsible decisions. Decisions are made much more carefully and the train moves much more slowly at the state level [sic].”
"Connecticut is one of 30 states in which the pesticide industry has put preemption clauses into state statutes, making it illegal for towns to be more protective of their citizens when it comes to lawn-care pesticide exposures," explains Nancy Alderman, president of Environment and Human Health, Inc., a non-profit organization strongly backing the Bill. Read Nancy Alderman's testimony to the members of the Connecticut congressional Environment Committee on the Bill.
Canada has banned lawn-care pesticides in 70 towns and cities in order to better protect public health health. Last year, Ontario's College of Family Physicians warned people to avoid exposures to pesticides whenever and wherever possible. (See Daily News.) A recent Canadian study showed that communities that passed local by-laws or ordinances that restrict the cosmetic use of pesticides for home lawns and gardens are more effective in reducing the use of pesticides than those that rely solely on public education or social marketing. (See Daily News.)
"Pesticides were first approved for agricultural use, which meant weighing potential health risks against the need to produce food," says Alderman. "That is very different from weighing the risks of exposing people to these chemicals simply to produce lawns without dandelions. Yet it is these agricultural pesticides, with all their inherent risks, that the pesticide industry has brought into people's homes in the form of lawn care pesticides."
"These pesticides pose a significant threat to children and pets," said Sean Palfrey, M.D. president of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. "As a doctor, I believe we should minimize our exposure to dangerous pesticides and I urge residents and industries to look for and use all possible healthy alternatives." In Massachusetts, Toxics Action Center launched a campaign yesterday to urge homeowners to "Refuse to Use ChemLawn" due to the hazards to human health and environment from the aesthetic use of lawn care pesticides. (See Daily News.)
"When customers contract with ChemLawn, they believe they are signing up for a green, plush lawn," said Jay Rasku of Toxics Action Center. "What many customers do not know is that they are signing up for a program that exposes their children, pets and water supplies to an arsenal of toxic pesticides.""Any perceived benefits of pesticide products must always be weighed against their dangers. Unnecessary exposures, including the purely cosmetic use of lawn care pesticides, should be eliminated if we are to protect human health," says Nancy Alderman.
TAKE ACTION: Join hundreds of others and help stop the use of lawn pesticides in your community, on school grounds, in parks, and other public spaces. Educate your neighbors about the dangers of lawn pesticides and the efficacy of non-toxic alternatives. For more information visit Beyond Pesticides’ lawn page.