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From February 25, 2005

Crossing Party Lines: Pesticide Notification Measure Expected To Pass
(Beyond Pesticides, February 25, 2005)
The Neighbor Notification Law, passed in Albany (New York State) in 2000, is expected to have its first Republican-dominated county “opt-in.” The seven counties that already have adopted the measure require neighbors within 150 feet to be notified by the pesticide applicators 48 hours in advance of a pesticide application. Neighbors are also to be given two alternative days for rain, and information about the pesticide. Homeowners spraying more than 100 feet are required to set up flags around the area, and violators can be fined or have jail time. See http://www.1in9.org/leg.neighbor.notification.htm for more specifics of the law.

The fact that this law is going to be adopted in a Republican-dominated county speaks for the necessity and practicality of this issue. "It’s logical," said coalition executive director Holly Anderson to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Advocates believe that the adoption of this measure is a long time coming and people of all backgrounds are recognizing the health benefits for the community. At a county meeting organized by the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester there were a variety of supporters including researchers from the University of Rochester shedding more light on the issue of pregnant women, children, and toxics. This bill will give parents and expectant parents the opportunity to protect themselves and their children from possible hazards. In addition, benefits include reduction of pesticide exposure due to drift. Situations like community panel member Joan Creatura’s, who was suddenly engulfed by a cloud of lawn chemicals after a wind brought it from her neighbors yard next door, can be prevented. Commonly used lawn pesticides can cause adverse health effects such as cancer, birth defects, reproductive effects, neurotoxicity, liver or kidney damage, and sensitization and irritation.

Although it has taken time, Bill Smith, a Republican representative, predicts the bill will pass. If adopted, the laws will go into effect next year.

TAKE ACTION: Press for similar reform in your community. Use Beyond Pesticides tools for activists from the Lawns and Landscapes program page under Issues.

Advocates are urging Monroe, NY county residents to write or call the Monroe county government to let officials know how you feel about the Neighborhood Notification Bill. For more information, contact Environmental Advocates, 518-462-5526.