Daily News Archive
From June 10, 2005

Connecticut Legislature Passes School Lawn Pesticide Bill
(Beyond Pesticides, June 10, 2005)
A bill banning lawn care pesticides on the grounds of children’s day care centers and elementary schools passed in Connecticut’s House on Thursday, June 8th. The bill, SB 916, overwhelmingly passed the Senate two weeks ago, and is expected to be signed into law by the Governor without a problem.

Under the bill, public and private preschools and elementary schools can use integrated pest management techniques to apply pesticides sparingly on playgrounds and playing fields until July 2008. After that, all pesticides, including fungicides, insecticides and herbicides, will be banned. The bill includes a provision that allows for the emergency application of pesticides to eliminate immediate human health threats as determined by local or state health officials. The Greenwich Time reports that the bill does not apply to high schools as part of a compromise for officials who worried that the quality of playing fields would suffer without herbicides, according to Representative Lile Gibbons, one of the bill's many co-sponsors. "Eventually all schools are going to fall under this," she said.

"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 Connecticut-based non-profit organization that strongly supported SB 916. In February, Nancy Alderman testified to the members of the Connecticut congressional Environment Committee in favor of the bill. Alderman and other local activists working on the bill hope that SB 916 will serve as a model for other states to follow.

Canada has banned lawn-care pesticides in 70 towns and cities in order to better protect public health. 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.) Although the United States does not have as many state and local pesticide bans as Canada, there has been a great progress in recent months, with landmark bills passed in New York and Alaska (See Daily News Stories).

TAKE ACTION: If you are a Connecticut resident, find out how your representatives voted, and call them up to thank them if they voted in favor of SB 916. If you are not a CT resident, join hundreds of others and help stop the use of lawn pesticides on school grounds, parks, and other public spaces. To get involved in the campaign to end the cosmetic use of pesticides on lawns, read and sign the national Declaration on the Use of Toxic Lawn Pesticides and join the Beyond Pesticides National Coalition for Pesticide-Free Lawns at www.pesticidefreelawns.org.