(Beyond Pesticides, February 14, 2007) Connecticut State Representative Livvy R. Floren (R-149th District) and a bi-partisan coalition of co-sponsors introduced a bill in January 2007 to extend the ban on the use of pesticides at day care and elementary schools to middle and high schools. House Bill 5234, An Act Banning Pesticide Use in Middle And High Schools, has been referred to the General Assembly’s Environment Committee.
Rep. Floren co-sponsored the initial law in 2005, which restricts the use of lawn care pesticides at public and private preschools, elementary schools, child day care centers and group day care homes. This law went into affect January 1, 2006, except for emergencies and completely bans their application starting July 1, 2008.
Rep. Floren said, “Pesticides are known to be detrimental to humans of all ages, and I do not want to see them used in areas that affect our young people. Future generations of children should be able to learn and play at school without threat of breathing in pesticides.” By extending the ban, Rep. Floren said more than 260,000 children attending sixth through 12th grade would be affected.
Rep. Floren told the Greenwich Post that she was first introduced to the problem of pesticides being used on school grounds by Greenwich resident Neil Lubarsky, an attorney who started researching the negative effects of pesticides while attending Harvard Law School.
“I have two small daughters and I was concerned about their health,” Mr. Lubarsky told the Post. “I’ve been involved in groups helping children with leukemia and lymphoma and I wanted to be able to do more than help them get their last wishes granted. I wanted to try and get their exposure to these diseases cut down. Kids spend their time at school and that’s where they were getting exposed to these chemicals.” Mr. Lubarsky said he feels the original ban has been effective and would be happy to see it extended.
“By impacting just a small percentage of the land in the state you’re cutting the exposure of children to cancer by half,” Mr. Lubarsky said. “This doesn’t come at a real cost to anyone in the lawn care industry and it has a real health benefit. There’s no reason not to expand it to other schools. This is where children spend their time. All it means is that there might be a few more dandelions on the school lawns, but when it comes to children’s health that’s not even something that should be an issue.”
Rep. Floren says that critics have now been won over by the original ban’s success.
TAKE ACTION: If you live in Connecticut, contact your state representative and ask them to support House Bill 5234. For information on passing a bill in your state, visit Beyond Pesticides Children’s Health program page.