(Beyond Pesticides, November 12, 2010) On November 14, new restrictions that ban the outdoor use of pesticides on playgrounds or playing fields in New York will go into effect. In preparation for these new requirements, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released draft guidance on October 27. This guidance is intended to instruct schools and day care centers on compliance with the new law, by providing information on its requirements and on allowable alternatives to pesticides for grounds maintenance.
The Child Safe Playing Field Act, which was enacted in May 2010, requires that all schools, preschools, and day care centers both public and private to stop using pesticides on any playgrounds or playing fields. The law allows for emergency application of pesticides for infestations if the County Health Department, the Commissioner of Health, the Commissioner of Environmental Conservation or the school board deems it an emergency. Containerized nonvolatile bait stations are also permitted for insect and rodent control. “The archaic practice of poisoning children’s playgrounds is coming to an end in New York State. We will now raise a generation of healthier, safer children because of this legislation,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, Citizens’ Campaign for the Environment.
The draft guidance addresses five subjects, to provide information on the new requirements and how to comply:
A. Summary of requirements of Chapter 85 and identification of involved State agencies.
B. Information on how to maintain child-safe playing fields and turf without pesticides, to assist in complying with the new pesticide prohibition, including an introduction to alternative approaches to grounds maintenance and pest management and concepts about soil and plant health.
C. Brief description of the types of pesticide products allowed under the new law and ways to identify them.
D. Identification of agencies that schools and day care centers should contact to request an emergency pesticide application determination, as well as the basic framework for situations which will be considered an emergency by the NYS DOH and NYS DEC.
E. List of responsible State agencies and contact information for questions.
Take Action (New York): Comments on the draft guidance are being accepted until November 29, 2010. Comments should be submitted to: Mary A. Roy, NYS DEC – Division of Materials Management, 625 Broadway, Albany, New York 12233-7257, e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to (518) 402-9024.
Take Action (Nationally): It is time for a national policy that would protect every child in the United States from pesticide exposure at school. Federal legislation, the School Environment Protection Act of 2009 (SEPA), has been introduced by Rep. Rush Holt and would protect school children from pesticides used both indoors and on all school grounds nationwide. The legislation also bans the use of synthetic fertilizers. To learn more about this legislation and help its passage, see Beyond Pesticides’ SEPA webpage.
Source: NYS DEC Environmental Notice Bulletin