Programs of lawn care that have proved to be safe, sustainable and cost effective are indeed available. Paul Tukey, founder of, "Safe Lawns," SafeLawns.org - http://www.safelawns.org/ Organic Lawn Care for a Healthier Planet - provides documented success of the benefits of organic lawn care. "Grassroots Environmental Education," is an excellent source of information providing training materials, programs, and activism. Natural or organic turf management can be easily implemented for school grounds and playing fields. Watch the video. Playing It Safe - http://www.grassrootsinfo.org/playingitsafe.html
I encourage all to avail themselves of the information and excellent resources provided by, Beyond Pesticides, http://www.beyondpesticides.org. They were exceedingly helpful when I initiated the campaign that led to the adoption of the "Rockland County Non-Toxic Landscape Act, adopted in June, 2008. This link provides a copy of Rockland's present law. Beyond Pesticides Daily News Blog » Blog Archive » Rockland Co. NY Legislature Passes Non-Toxic Landscape Act - http://www.beyondpesticides.org/dailynewsblog/?p=374
If you were to peruse the posts on this blog you will find the consistent theme of the need to be fully aware of the ill effects of toxic chemicals, pesticides and GMOs on our health, our environment and our ultimate well being. There are viable alternatives. YES, we are obliged to be aware, be responsive and make the difference in our product use and practices to assure the health of our children, our community and the children yet to be born.
The Child Safe Playing Fields Act, which passed the Legislature and was signed by then-Gov. David Paterson last year, takes effect today. It will prevent all K-12 schools and day-care centers from using pesticides on their grass.
Advocates say it was designed to keep potentially harmful pesticides off of athletic fields and playgrounds. A spokesman for the state Education Department — which will administer the law — said Tuesday the agency takes a broader interpretation.
The law reads in part: "No school shall apply pesticide to any playgrounds, turf, athletic or playing fields."
"Our Office of Facilities Planning interprets 'turf' to include any grass surface, like the front lawn of a school," said Jonathan Burman, the spokesman.
Patti Wood, executive director of Grassroots Environmental Education, said the pesticides were primarily used for aesthetic purposes, and schools will now be encouraged to monitor grass growth and use organic methods.
The use of indoor pesticides — such as an ant trap or roach-control products — is unaffected.
Schools can apply for an exception from the state Department of Environmental Conservation if the public's health is at risk, such as an infestation of bees.
The state School Boards Association opposed the law as it worked its way through the Legislature last year.
"We felt that local school districts were in the best position to determine what was going on in their individual fields in order to protect their students and staff," said Barbara Bradley, a spokeswoman for the association.
— Jon Campbell
Today I received the following posting, "WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT PESTICIDE DANGERS." It is here provided from, Bottom Line's Daily Health News. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spring is around the corner, and the last thing I want to be thinking about is fruit salad dosed with pesticides or a lovely cut of meat on the grill, generously marinated in bug spray. Why, then, is my mind traveling so firmly in this direction? It’s almost 40 years after DDT was banned, and you would think that we’d now feel safe and comfortable in knowing that we are exposed to fewer toxic pesticides. Instead there’s evidence that we’re exposed to more.
About 70,000 different chemicals are used in the US today, making the chemical companies healthy even if we’re not. Although many of these chemicals are known carcinogens, there isn’t a lot of scientific research that has successfully proved a causal link to cancer -- since, in addition to being expensive, this would take decades to prove… and, of course, no one will get rich from the results. Now new research is emerging that links pesticides to other known health problems, so I thought it was important to take a look at what we know -- and what we don’t know -- about the dangers of the pesticides used in growing the foods we eat.
SO MANY CHEMICALS
Fruits and vegetables receive the highest dosage of pesticides, so they’re more likely to be contaminated than other foods. For instance, conventional, non-organic growers can choose from as many as 62 different types of pesticide products to treat a crop of peaches (and each crop is typically treated with many different types)… 52 for blueberries… 42 for apples. And you may not realize that pesticides also have been found in meat and chicken, especially in the thighs.
I spoke to David Pimentel, PhD, a professor in the department of entomology, systematics and ecology at Cornell University about this trend. "About 70% of the foods that consumers buy have detectable levels of pesticide residues," Dr. Pimentel told me.
WHO IS MOST AT RISK?
Regarding the connection between cancer and pesticides, it is safe to say there’s good reason to worry about one. Noting that more research is needed on this important topic, Dr. Pimentel said. "There is no question that pesticides can cause cancer -- the question is, how many people do they affect?" He noted that people with a genetic risk for cancer are quite likely the most vulnerable.
Meanwhile, researchers continue to uncover more ways that absorbing pesticides -- by eating, touching or breathing them -- is bad for our health… most especially for people who are already somewhat unhealthy due to poor lifestyle or other conditions that depress their immunity. Among the recent findings...
Parkinson’s disease. It appears that exposure to pesticides may trigger Parkinsons’s disease in genetically predisposed people. In a large 2006 study, researchers at Harvard School of Public Health found that participants exposed to pesticides (specifically, farmers, ranchers, fishermen and people who used pesticides in their homes or gardens) had a 70% higher incidence of Parkinson’s than those who weren’t exposed. The latest research, reported in February 2011 and conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, shows that people exposed in their professions to the pesticides paraquat or rotenone developed Parkinson’s approximately 2.5 times more often than people who were not exposed. Both pesticides cause cellular damage. Paraquat, in particular, is an extremely toxic substance originally developed as an herbicide.
Dementia. A study that collected data between 1997 and 2003 from French vineyard workers who spent at least two decades applying pesticides to plants or working in buildings where pesticides were housed showed that these workers scored low on a test of memory and recall. Researchers speculate that the changes demonstrated in the mental functioning of these people indicate that they may eventually develop a neurodegenerative disease, such as Alzheimer’s.
Infertility. In a 2008 review of studies on pesticide exposure, epidemiologists showed a decline in the semen quality and quantity of farm workers, which impaired male fertility by 40%. "Infertility, especially in men, is increasing in proportion to greater exposure to pesticides," said Dr. Pimentel.
KIDS ARE VULNERABLE
For children, there is bad news and good news. First of all, the problem of pesticide exposure is amplified compared with adults. "Kids are growing," noted Dr. Pimentel. "In relation to body weight, they eat more than adults." One study found that the urine of children eating a variety of conventional foods contained markers for organophosphates, a lethal group of pesticides used to disable the nervous system of pests that is, not incidentally, used to make the deadly nerve gas saran. However, the study also found that when the children’s diets were switched to only organic foods, the chemicals disappeared from their bodies within 36 hours.
WHAT TO DO
You may take some comfort -- briefly -- in knowing that, by Dr. Pimentel’s reckoning, newer pesticides are used at 1/1,000 of the amount as had been the case with DDT. But don’t be fooled by this simplistic comparison -- ounce for ounce or pound for pound, "These newer materials are far more toxic, not just to pests but also to humans."
Washing and peeling helps only if a chemical is on the outside of a fruit or vegetable, Dr. Pimentel noted -- but the sad fact is that some of these toxins are taken up by the plant as it grows, meaning that the pesticides end up inside the flesh of the produce and therefore cannot be removed even with careful washing and peeling.
Foods least likely to have pesticide residue after washing include onions, avocados, corn, pineapples, mangoes, asparagus, sweet peas, kiwi, cabbage, eggplant, papaya, watermelon, broccoli, tomatoes and sweet potatoes. Some of these foods have thick skins that protect the food, while others face fewer threats from pests and so are sprayed less.
Avoiding the most contaminated types of fruits and vegetables or buying their organic counterparts reduces your pesticide exposure by 80%. The following foods, when grown conventionally, contain the most pesticide residue even after washing and/or peeling: Celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, kale, cherries, potatoes, grapes, carrots.
Bottom line: Choose carefully, buy organic when possible and be sure to wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly to be certain they’ll keep you healthy, not make you sick.
David Pimentel, PhD, professor, department of entomology, systematics and ecology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
Let us link, pass on, share the information, take the action, redefine our direction, and know that we can make a significant difference. YES, one practice at a time, one change at a time, one awareness at a time, one person at a time, one lawn at a time, one household at a time, one community at a time, one nation at a time. YOU ARE THE POWER OF CHANGE!!
Rose Marie Raccioppi
Obama administration to approve drought-resistant GM corn that USDA says grows no better than natural corn.
USDA Looks to Approve Monsanto's Drought-Tolerant Corn - NYTimes.com - http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/05/11/11greenwire-usda-looks-to-approve-monsantos-drought-tolera-84634.html