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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'New York' Category


Preventive Practices Work Best to Control Cockroaches

(Beyond Pesticides, June 24, 2009) An analysis of the New York City Public Housing system’s pest management practices finds that a combination of preventive management practices and least toxic pesticide options are more effective than conventional chemical-dependent practices.The analysis finds that integrated pest management (IPM)practices with a focus on sealing cracks and proper sanitation, coupled with boric acid controls cockroaches better than chemical approaches. The study, entitled “Effectiveness of an Integrated Pest Management Intervention in Controlling Cockroaches, Mice and Allergens in New York City Public Housing,” finds that apartments utilizing integrated pest management (IPM) measures have significantly lower counts of cockroaches at three months and greater success in reducing or sustaining low counts of cockroaches at three (75 percent decline) and six months (88 percent decline). IPM was associated with a more than 50 percent drop in cockroach allergen levels in kitchens at three months, and in beds and kitchens at six months. In contrast, the number of cockroaches in buildings receiving professional exterminator visits every three to six months increased slightly. Pesticide use was reduced in apartments using IPM relative to apartments with chemical practices in place. Residents of IPM apartments also rated building services more positively. The researchers […]



New York Governor Sets Pesticide-Free Goal for State Parks

(Beyond Pesticides, May 4, 2009) Targeting areas frequented by children, such as playgrounds, picnic areas, baseball fields, campgrounds, beaches, and hiking trails, New York Governor David A. Paterson announced an initiative to substantially reduce pesticide use throughout the State park system. “New York has a magnificent State park system that is a tremendous resource for all New Yorkers,” said Governor Paterson. “People visiting our parks, particularly children, should not be exposed to pesticides. This effort will reduce or, when possible, eliminate the use of pesticides in our State parks and historic sites.” The pesticide reduction policy is an outgrowth of Governor Paterson’s Executive Order No. 4, adopted in April 2008, which established procurement specifications to minimize State pesticide use by State agencies. The State Parks policy goes further than the Executive Order requirements by eliminating pesticide use to the maximum extent possible. The goal is to keep parks pesticide-free. The approach is outlined in the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation’s Sustainability Plan, an agency-wide strategy to improve energy conservation, improve the sustainability of parks and historic sites, improve waste reduction and recycling efforts, enhance green procurement, and incorporate sustainability in education, training and interpretation efforts. “Now that the […]



New Study Finds “Single Visit” IPM Successful in NYC Public Housing

(Beyond Pesticides, April 21, 2009) According to a new study by the New York City (NYC) Department of Health, Columbia University and the NYC Housing Authority published in the online edition of Environmental Health Perspectives on April 15, 2009, “single visit” integrated pest management (IPM) at the building level (rather than individual rental units) is more successful than regular pesticide applications in managing public housing pests and allergens. The study, “Effectiveness of an Integrated Pest Management Intervention in Controlling Cockroaches, Mice and Allergens in New York City Public Housing,” is available online. The NYC Housing Authority is the largest public housing owner in North America with more than 405,000 low-income residents. The successful implementation of IPM in an institution of this size was thought to offer many potential benefits; pesticide use reduction, improved pest management and reduced pest and allergen burdens in housing populated by largely African American and Latino families with a disproportionately high prevalence of asthma. Following a successful pilot program in public housing, the NYC Department of Health and Housing Authority developed an IPM intervention designed to be simple, low-cost and relatively easily scaled. In buildings participating in the study, Housing Authority IPM teams spent 8-12 person-hours […]



New York State To Restrict Use Of Bug Bombs

(Beyond Pesticides, October 21, 2008) On October 17, 2008, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that the state will be taking action to address the risks posed by total release foggers, also known as “bug bombs,” in the wake of a new federal report detailing hazards and injuries related to the product. DEC will move to classify foggers as a restricted-use product in New York State, meaning that only licensed pesticide applicators, rather than the general public, will be able to obtain them. DEC also says it will explore the need to further limit fogger use and encourage the adoption of better pest management strategies. Total release foggers have caused numerous explosions and acute illnesses due to pesticide exposure. According to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 123 cases of bug bomb-related illness or injury in New York State (58 in New York City alone) from 2001-06. Information on New York’s incidents are part of a larger study published October 17, 2008 in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, which illuminates the hazards of total release foggers using data from several states. The most commonly reported acute health […]



New Paltz, NY Goes Organic, Hopes to Set Example for Residents

(Beyond Pesticides, June 27, 2008) New Paltz, NY parks and green spaces are going organic with the hope that residents will follow suit and stop treating their lawns with pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Final approval of the legislation that would prohibit pesticides on town property is “just a lawyerly tweak away from becoming law,” according to Alice Andrews, a member of the village environmental commission and organizer of an organics task force. Ms. Andrews was motivated to work on the issue when she learned about the health and environmental hazards of commonly used lawn pesticides. Of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides, 19 are linked with cancer or carcinogencity, 13 are linked with birth defects, 21 with reproductive effects, 26 with liver or kidney damage, 15 with neurotoxicity, and 11 with disruption of the endocrine (hormonal) system. Of those same 30 lawn pesticides, 17 are detected in groundwater, 23 have the ability to leach into drinking water sources, 24 are toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms vital to our ecosystem, 11 are toxic to bees, and 16 are toxic to birds. Ms. Andrews originally planned to propose legislation that would have banned or limited pesticide use for all village properties, […]



Rockland Co. NY Legislature Passes Non-Toxic Landscape Act

(Beyond Pesticides, June 19, 2008) Rockland County, NY legislators passed a bill on June 17, 2008 to eliminate the use of toxic pesticides on all county-owned or leased land. Rose Marie Raccioppi, the community organizer behind the bill, is a member of Beyond Pesticides, the National Pesticide-Free Lawn Coalition, and Orangetown’s Environmental Committee. She brought her concerns about pesticide exposure to the Rockland County Legislature last year, and advocated strongly for the passage of the Rockland County Non-Toxic Landscape Maintenance Act. “This is the beginning of what is hoped to be a continuing campaign,” Ms. Raccioppi said. “We hope it moves from county to towns to school districts and eventually, the consciousness of the individual homeowner.” As the law currently stands in New York, and most other states, municipalities may not pass legislation regulating the use of pesticides on private land and buildings, reserving governance of such matters to the state government. However, towns and counties throughout the U.S. (See Daily News of April 15, May 12, May 13, and June 16, 2008) are passing regulations restricting the use of pesticides on publicly-owned land. For a list of these local policies, please visit Beyond Pesticides’ Tools for Change site. The […]



720,000 Ladybugs Imported As Pest Control at NYC Apartment Complex

(Beyond Pesticides, October 23, 2007) On October 18, 2007, groundskeepers at one of New York City’s largest apartment complexes released 720,000 ladybugs over its 40 acres of landscaping as an alternative to spraying insecticides to control mites and other insects that feed on its flowers, shrubs and trees. The bugs, hippodamia convergens, were harvested in Bozeman, MT, shipped in bags of straw and released by hand at the Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village complex in Manhattan’s East Side. The complex’s owner, Tishman Speyer, purchased the ladybugs from Planet Natural, an online retailer, for just under $6,000 and is expected to save money over the cost of the insecticides. The ladybugs are available to the public through the Planet Natural website at $16.50 for 2,000 (shipping included). Eric Vinje, owner of Planet Natural, explained to the Associated Press that he buys from ladybug collectors working the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Oregon, California and Montana. In Bozeman, he keeps the ladybugs alive in large refrigerators where the temperature is kept to about 35 degrees. Under these conditions, they go “dormant,”, using up their fat stores without eating anything, and staying alive for about five months. In the shipping […]



Action Alert: Groups Call for States to End Pesticide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, July 30, 2007) Following the release of a new national report, Ending Toxic Dependency: The State of IPM, environmental and health groups in New York state issued a letter to Governor Eliot Spitzer. In the letter, they requested that the Governor order all state agencies to phase out use of toxic pesticides in favor of less- and non-toxic products. Twenty-six groups signed the statement, which urges Mr. Spitzer to reduce the amount of pesticides used in the state, which, in 2004, included 2.7 million gallons applied by pest-control companies alone. “We should not be exposing state workers and the public to hazardous and unnecessary chemicals that can cause a range of serious health problems, from asthma attacks to birth defects and cancer, as well as contaminate our air and drinking water,” said Laura Haight of the New York Public Interest Research Group, one of the co-signing organizations. “It’s not rocket science; there are towns and counties and cities across the state doing just this on their own property.” The body of the letter, expanding Ms. Haight’s statement, reads: Our groups, which represent citizens from across the state, applaud you for your commitment to protecting the environment and public […]



Train Carrying Methyl Bromide Derails in New York

(Beyond Pesticides, June 5, 2007) On May 26, a Montreal-bound train derailed near Lake Champlain, New York. Twelve of 33 cars jumped the tracks, including one carrying methylene chloride, a paint remover, and methyl bromide, a fumigant that has been banned in much of the world under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The county HazMat response team arrived two hours after the accident, putting out a small fire on the locomotive and determining within another two hours that the chemical tanks were unharmed, ending the threat of a chemical spill. Essex County Emergency Services Deputy Director Don Jaquish noted that the tankers were around ten percent full when they derailed, calling the scene one of “moderate risk,” although “for people working on the train, it could be a severe risk.” While this incident fortunately did not result in compromise of human health or the environment, the continued use of methyl bromide on fruits and vegetables across the country does compromise both public health and the environment by exposing many to a chemical that is carcinogenic, according to California’s Proposition 65. Methyl bromide is an ozone-depleting chemical that was supposed to be phased out in industrialized […]



NYC Settles Mosquito Spray Lawsuit Filed by Pesticide Activists

(Beyond Pesticides, April 19, 2007) On April 12, a federal judge signed a settlement agreement in which New York City admits that the pesticides it sprayed may indeed be dangerous to human health as well as to the natural environment. For seven years, the No Spray Coalition, Beyond Pesticides and others have battled the City of New York in Federal Court in opposition to the Giuliani administration’s massive and indiscriminate spraying of toxic pesticides, including the organophosphate malathion. The settlement agreement states that, contrary to the City’s prior statements, pesticides may remain in the environment beyond their intended purpose, cause adverse health effects, kill mosquitoes’ natural predators, increase mosquito resistance to the sprays, and are not presently approved for direct application to waterways. Mitchel Cohen, the coordinator of the No Spray Coalition and an individual plaintiff in the lawsuit, sees the settlement agreement as a “tremendous victory” for health and environmental advocates. “Thousands of New Yorkers were made seriously sick by the spraying,” said Mr. Cohen. “A number of members of our coalition, including several of the plaintiffs, died from pesticide-related illnesses. Many suffer from multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS) or asthma caused or exacerbated by the spraying. We are very […]



Suffolk County Passes Controversial Mosquito Plan, Officials Resign

(Beyond Pesticides, April 2, 2007) The Suffolk County Legislature approved a controversial mosquito control plan, 13-3, despite major objections from other county agencies, environmentalists, and members of Suffolk’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). The eleven-member CEQ advises lawmakers on the environmental impact of proposed county projects and while their recommendations are non-binding, the Legislature has generally followed the group’s advice. Several members of CEQ resigned after the bill’s passage. CEQ objects to the planned use of methoprene, an insecticide that interferes with larval growth. Objections were also raised over the county’s mosquito-control strategy of “ditching,” or altering wetlands to make artificial ponds where mosquito-eating fish thrive, a method they claim is unproven and harmful to the environment. Those objections, which CEQ passed in a split vote earlier this year, were ignored in the final approved plan. Members of CEQ also suggest that in the absence of pathogens like West Nile virus, the threshold for troublesome yet basically harmless mosquitoes should be raised. Prior to the controversial vote by the County Legislature, towns within Suffolk County also opposed the methods. The East Hampton Town Board and town trustees passed resolutions urging the county to abstain from using methoprene. Southampton’s trustees urged […]