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Daily News Blog

18
Jul

Group Releases Report on Toxic Pesticides Used in Its Region

(Beyond Pesticides, July 18, 2018) Empire State Consumer Project (ESCP), a regional group in Upstate New York, has published its 2018 Government Pesticide Survey, highlighting the use of hazardous landscape pesticides by local governments in the area. The group’s work shines a light on communities using too many hazardous chemicals, but also calls attention to towns and villages using pesticide-free practices. By making use of New York State’s open record laws, ESCP provides a good model for other local and regional groups to follow.

ESCP surveyed over 30 different towns and villages in Monroe County, NY through the use of a public records request the group provided a copy of at the end of its report. The majority of towns did apply toxic pesticides, with glyphosate being the most widely used. While many towns only used one or two different products, some communities, like the town of Pittsford and the village of Spencerport, used 17 and 18 different pesticide products, respectively. However, five towns (Brighton, East Rochester, Gates, Ogden, and Parma), and three villages (Brockport, Pittsford, and Scottsville) indicated they used no pesticides at all to manage their public spaces.

“Town, village and county parks, office complexes, and roadways are a few of the properties that seek to ‘beautify’ their grounds while exposing the public to toxic chemicals and polluting the environment. Some communities report using no pesticides – If these communities can do it, they all can,” said Judy Braiman, president of ESCP.

While New York State has passed legislation that restricts hazardous pesticide use on school grounds, allowing only products considered minimum risk by EPA, local governments have been slow to follow in the state’s lead. According to Beyond Pesticides’ Map of U.S. Pesticide Reform Policies only a limited number of communities have enshrined pesticide-free practices into law. ESCP is hoping that this report will encourage communities using multiple pesticides to look towards alternatives in order to protect human health and their unique local environment. Likewise, those that do not use pesticide currently are encouraged to codify their practices through the passage of a local law.

Ms. Braiman adds, “Consumers, employees, and neighboring residents have no say about the pesticides they are exposed to while visiting or living near these locations. Recent applications, even when posted with signs, cannot be avoided altogether. Pesticide drift caused by wind and runoff from rain extends the reach of the toxics well beyond their intended targets. Pesticide runoff pollutes our waterways, including local lakes and bays we all use for recreation and many municipalities use as their source of drinking water.”

Unfortunately, New York localities are preempted from passing any policy that is stricter than state law. This stops the development of laws that apply to private property, meaning that there is little recourse for residents to stop neighbors from using toxic, drift-prone pesticides or contracting with services like TruGreen.

Beyond Pesticides encourages local advocacy groups to take a cue from ESCP and consider the value of using open records laws in determining where to focus your campaign.  You may find, as ESCP did, that some communities in your area are indeed practices safe land care, and their approach can be held up as a model for other local governments to follow.

Commit to working towards a pesticide-free community by signing the pledge today.  For additional resources to jump-start your campaign, see Beyond Pesticides’ Tools for Change webpage, or the document Resources for a Pesticide Free Community.

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

Source: Empire State Consumer Project Report, PR

 

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  • Archives

  • Categories

    • ALS (2)
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    • Integrated and Organic Pest Management (60)
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    • Lawns/Landscapes (200)
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