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Model Ordinance and Implementation Plan

Beyond Pesticides created this webpage as a sample guide for educational materials for the city of Takoma Park, MD, in response to the ordinance that was passed which restricts pesticide use on private and public property throughout the city. Please note: these documents are educational materials provided by Beyond Pesticides to help the city implement its new policy, and is not Takoma Park's official implementation policy. We hope that you will find these materials useful. If you are interested in working on a similar policy in your community, please contact Beyond Pesticides at 202-543-5450 or email info@beyondpesticides.org.

The model implementation plan encourages homeowners, renters, and lawn care professionals to protect the health of people and the environment in the community. The model, with its restrictions on hazardous pesticides being used throughout the community, creates a strong incentive to transition to land management practices that protect the health of the community and the local ecosystems. The good news is that these practices are easy to adopt!

Maintaining Sustainable Lawns and Landscapes

High quality lawns and landscapes can be achieved with practices that build soil health through natural fertilization and cultural practices, such as soil aeration, mowing height, and timing and volume of water. This approach, which eliminates synthetic fertilizers and nurtures soil microorganisms, is a “feed-the-soil” approach. It centers on the utilization of compost, and microbial food sources. Experience demonstrates that this approach helps to prevent problems that typically arise from chemical-intensive practices by building a soil environment rich in microbial life that, in turn,  produces a strong, healthy lawn able to withstand pressures from heavy usage, insects, weeds, and disease, as well as drought and heat stress.

Pursuant to the model policy, which prohibits the use of certain cosmetic pesticides in a local jurisdiction, this guide, Maintaining Sustainable Lawns and Landscapes, provides the tools and tactics that will promote effective and safe lawn and landscape management.

Establishing New Lawns and Landscapes

The previous publication provides tips for those managing an existing lawn without the toxic materials restricted by the Takoma Park ordinance. A separate guide, Establishing New Lawns and Landscapes, identifies the steps to take in installing a new lawn.

Restricted Pesticides

A key component of the model is the phase-in of restrictions on harmful pesticides for lawn care on public and private property within the the local jurisdiction. The complied list of restricted pesticides includes those that are:

  1. Likely to be Carcinogenic to Humans - As determined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  2. Category 1 Endocrine (Hormone) Disruptors - As determined by the European Union.
  3. Banned in Canada for Cosmetic Uses.
  4. Toxicity Category I or II by EPA (pesticides identified by the words `DANGER' or `WARNING' on the label)
  5. A developmental or reproductive toxicant as defined by the State of California Proposition 65 Chemicals Known to Cause Developmental or Reproductive Harm
  6. Neurologic cholinesterase inhibitors - As designated by California Department of Pesticide Regulation or the Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
  7. Known groundwater contaminants - As designated by the state of California (for actively registered pesticides)
  8. Dusts, powder or aerosol pesticides unless used in a way that virtually eliminates inhalation hazard, such as when applied to cracks or crevices and sealed after the application, or used as a directed spray into the entrance of an insect nest
  9. Nervous system toxicants, including chemicals such as cholinesterase inhibitors or chemicals associated with neurotoxicity by a mechanism other than cholinesterase inhibition
  10. Regarding outdoor use: Adversely affects the environment or wildlife, based on any of the following: (i) Label precautionary statements including `toxic' or `extremely toxic' to bees, birds, fish, aquatic invertebrates, wildlife or other nontarget organisms, unless environmental exposure can be virtually eliminated; (ii) Pesticides with ingredients with moderate or high mobility in soil, or with a soil half-life of 30 days or more (except for mineral products)
  11. Has data gaps or missing information in EPA registration documents, including pesticide fact sheets, or EPA reregistration eligibility decisions, which EPA is requiring the registrant to provide; and, designated by the state of California (for actively registered pesticides)
  12. Contaminants and metabolites recognized by EPA that violate any of the above criteria.

Download this fact sheet, as an example, for the list of pesticide ingredients restricted for cosmetic use in the City of Takoma Park.

List of Resources for Healthy, Organic Lawns
All of the resources linked in the documents above.