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Daily News Archive
From November 16, 2006                                                                                                        

New Jersey Township Bans Pesticides in Parks
(Beyond Pesticides, November 16, 2006) Contributing to a statewide campaign effort to reduce pesticide exposure to children, Hazlet became the first township in Monmouth County, New Jersey, to employ pesticide-free zones in its parks. According to a story printed in the Independent, the township passed a resolution on September 19, 2006.

The recent move in the New Jersey township is in response to the steady rise in public concern over the potential hazards associated with chemical lawn care products and services. Approximately 100 million pounds of pesticides are used by homeowners in homes and gardens each year - a figure which substantially increases when applications by commercial lawn care companies are taken into account. Suburban lawns and gardens have been shown to receive far heavier pesticide applications per acre than most other land areas in the U.S., including agricultural areas.

Studies of major rivers and streams find that 96 percent of all fish, 100 percent of all surface water samples and 33 percent of major aquifers contain one or more pesticides. Of the 30 most commonly used lawn pesticides, 13 are probable or possible carcinogens, 14 are linked with birth defects, 18 with reproductive effects, 20 with liver or kidney damage, 18 with neurotoxicity, and 28 are sensitizers and/or irritants.

Studies show that these same hazardous lawn chemicals are drifting into our homes where they contaminate indoor air and surfaces, thereby exposing children at levels ten times higher than preapplication levels. Today lawns and landscapes can be effectively managed without chemicals that are harmful to human health and the environment.

According to New Jersey Environmental Federation’s Pesticide Program Coordinator Jane Nogaki, Hazlet township should not have much of a problem complying with the new rules. She continued, "Hazlet is a place where pesticides are not used very much, so this isn't a drastic change for them."

Mrs. Nogaki also said, "We asked people to write to their mayors in their towns, letting them know that they wanted to see a change." It is reported that places in Monmouth, such as Wall and Neptune, are also going to try and get on board.Overall, people in Hazlet have been very receptive to the idea according to Mrs. Nogaki, "People are cognizant of what is occurring in town and they are glad that things are changing." The plan calls for only certain areas of parks, such as tot lots and natural areas to be designated as pesticide-free.

"For now, pesticides are still being used on playing fields, but the goal is to have all parks, including playing fields, go 100 percent pesticide free," she said. According to the Independent, Mayor Michael Sachs noted that Mrs. Nogaki has put in plenty of effort locally to help the cause. Mayor Sachs said, "She's been working hard and it's good to see that this got done in Hazlet. I'm sure once other municipalities see what we've done, they'll follow along as well.”

TAKE ACTION: Today hundreds of citizens and organizations have joined together in calling for safe and responsible land care free of poisons. Join the National Coalition for Pesticides-Free Lawns.