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Daily News Archive
From May 18, 2001

Organic Pest Management Policy Adopted in Marblehead, MA

The Marblehead, Massachusetts Board of Health adopted an Organic Pest Management Policy for turf and landscape on all town-owned lands Thursday May 3, 2001. The policy prohibits the use of toxic chemical pesticides on town lands and mandates "organic" protocols.

The Marblehead Pesticide Awareness Committee worked for over a year with the town Board of Health to work out the details of the policy. The grassroots organizers state that the Board of Health's work is "a real testament to their commitment to the phase out and elimination of pesticide use in Marblehead and their acknowledgement of pesticides as a public health issue."

The turf and landscape policy specifically prohibits known, likely or probable human carcinogens or probable endocrine disrupters, and those pesticides that meet the criteria for Toxicity Category I or II, as defined by the US EPA from being used on any town-owned land. Products on the approved list of the Northeast Organic Farmer's Association of Massachusetts or of the Organic Materials Review Institute of Eugene, OR may be used on town-owned lands. The policy also establishes an advisory committee to oversee implementation of the policy, requires town employees be trained in accordance with the policy, requires all pesticides currently stored on town-owned property be properly disposed through a Hazardous Waste Collection program, and mandates yearly testing of the town's compost.

Organic Pest Management is defined in the policy as "a problem-solving strategy that prioritizes a natural, organic approach to turf grass and landscape management without the use of toxic pesticides. It mandates the use of natural, organic cultural practices that promote healthy soil and plant life as a preventative measure against the onset of turf and landscape pest problems."

The use of chemical controls must be made in consultation with the advisory board and made only in the event of a public emergency as determined by the Board of Health. Any waiver granting the use of pesticides on town-owned property require the use of Integrated Pest Management as it pertains to the least toxic material chosen for any given application.

Pesticides contained in baits or traps for the purpose of rodent control, pesticides classified by US EPA as exempt materials or those pesticides of a character not requiring FIFRA regulation are exempt from the policy requirements.

For information on other communities with local pesticide policies and ordinances or for a model local ordinance ($5 ppd), contact Beyond Pesticides/NCAMP at info@beyondpesticides.org or 202-543-5450. For additional information on the Marblehead Organic Pest Management Policy, contact Pat Beckett or Chip Osborne with the Marblehead Pesticide Awareness Committee at 781-631-7214.