(Beyond Pesticides, May 11, 2007) Connecticut activists seeking to expand their state ban on pesticides in schoolyards report a victory this week. House Bill 5234, An Act Banning Pesticide Use on School Grounds, which bans pesticides in private and public schools for grades K-8, passed the Connecticut House by vote of 145-2. The Bill is now headed to the Senate where it will be introduced by Senator Bill Finch (Bridgeport), Chair of the Environment Committee.
In 2005, An Act Concerning Pesticides at Schools and Day Care Facilities (Public Act 05 — 252) was passed in Connecticut. That law bans lawn care pesticides on the grounds of children’s day care centers and elementary schools, allowing integrated pest management (IPM) on playing fields for a three-year transition period.
However, private and public elementary schools are organized differently in different school districts, so the existing law only protects children up to grades five or six in many cases.
According to Nancy Alderman of Connecticut’s Human Health and Environment, “All Connecticut school children deserve the same level of protection, and this bill provides that.”
The present Bill 5234, will ban the use of lawn-care pesticides on the grounds of all schools K-8 and allow IPM on playing fields until 2009 – when the athletic fields will also have to go organic.
Industry opponents are seeking an amendment to extend the three-year transition period for playing fields to go organic. According to Dr. Jerry Silbert, M.D., Watershed Partnership, “Any further amendment could stall the process and prevent this important bill from being passed in this session.”
TAKE ACTION: If you live in Connecticut, please contact your State Senator by phone or e-mail and ask them to vote for the school-grounds pesticide ban Bill – 5234 with no new amendments. To see what school pesticide laws are enacted in your state see Beyond Pesticides’ state pages. For more information about Beyond Pesticides’ School Program visit www.beyondpesticides.org/schools/index.htm.