Erie County passes Pesticide Notification Law

December 9th, 2003

To the Editor,

Your article concerning the passage of the pesticide notification law (12/5/03) contained quotes from legislators that require a bit more review than the sound bytes granted in a quick interview. Representative Faulkner’s view that it is discriminatory because it does not hold homeowners to the same standard as lawn care professionals is illogical. It would be analogous to bringing a malpractice suit against a neighbor who gave you bad medical advice.

Lawn care companies are certified in the application of poisons including restricted pesticides that homeowners cannot access. They profit from their frequent use as it reduces labor costs entailed in safer weed management. Training is only 40 hours, with scant attention to critical issues in toxicology. Unqualified technicians using such products must be properly supervised. Pesticides are dangerous and, generally untested, chemicals which drift throughout a neighborhood and into homes like any gas. People must learn to close windows and doors around treated properties and leave their shoes at the front door to avoid contaminating carpets and floors. Residues can be found in house dust for months and even years after applications. Children play outdoors for health, not to be poisoned. Parents need to know when it is unsafe.

Drift cannot be seen but is no less toxic for its invisibility. Many pesticides used on lawns have now been banned due to excessive toxicity – but existing stocks are still allowed for use. Evidently, we must not interfere with profits, even when made around the concept of acceptable risk – a few will fall in the name of profits. Except it is not just a few since these products are designed to damage the central nervous systems of living organisms and /or interfere with growth regulation. They don’t discriminate in their effects upon weeds, bugs and the many vulnerable humans – pregnant women, children, elderly, those with any form of health problem, etc. It is a shame that a sunset provision will allow this law to disappear if enforcement issues become too burdensome. All the officials in charge have to do to get rid of this law….is nothing.

Barbara Rubin

Categories: Buffalo News

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