(Beyond Pesticides, April 15, 2008) Thanks to the organizing efforts of the local Environmental Action Task Force, the town of Greenwich, CT has banned the use of pesticides on all of its athletic fields. The first application of the year, which was set for April 14, 2008, was cancelled after the Board of Selectmen passed a resolution mandating the ban.
“It’s very exciting,” Selectman Lin Lavery told Greenwich Time newspaper. “It shows the town’s commitment to being a leader on environmental issues.”
According to the newspaper, the Environmental Action Task Force proposed the resolution in response to a state law banning the use of pesticides on all elementary and middle school grounds, that goes into effect next year. But the task force took the mandate a step further, banning pesticides on all town athletic fields and instituting it a year early.
It seemed logical to move forward with a ban as quickly as possible once it was determined that these pesticides were toxic and potentially harmful to children, Lavery told Greenwich Time.
Pesticides, such as Barricade- containing the active ingredient prodiamine, which is used on town fields, is a possible human carcinogen and suspected endocrine disruptor. Michael Franco, M.D., a local pulmonologist who is chairman of the task force’s pesticides sub-committee is concerned about the pesticide’s carcinogenicity, developmental toxicity, links to behavioral problems and persistence in the soil.
A spokesperson for the Greenwich Parks Department called the move a “noble” thing to do, but believes an organic approach will be more labor intensive. However experience shows, organic management of playing fields can be cheaper, does not require “rest” time, as once believed, and are safer for the athletes.
For more information on organic athletic fields, see “Pesticides and Playing Fields,” published in the Summer 2006 issue of Pesticides and You, and Beyond Pesticides’ Lawns and Landscapes project page.