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PESTICIDE NEIGHBOR NOTIFICATION

Image of kids and a dog on a lawn.Erie County Victory

Monroe County Victory

Each year, hundreds of thousands of pounds of pesticides are used on residential lawns in counties in New York State, mostly for aesthetic purposes. However, peer reviewed science continues to uncover the links between pesticide exposure and serious human health problems. These include acute impacts, such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, seizures and respiratory problems; and long-term damage, such as neurological impairment, hormone disruption, reproductive disorders and cancer. Fetuses, infants and children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable to these risks.

Advanced Notice Can Lower the Risk of Exposure

Even when families recognize this risk and choose to either refrain from using these dangerous chemicals or use safer organic alternatives, the risk of exposure to pesticides still remains. When commercial applicators spray pesticides, the chemicals frequently drift onto adjacent properties, potentially putting neighbors’ health, as well as their pets and property, at risk to pesticide exposure. CCE believes that the public should have advanced notice when pesticide applicators are coming to spray toxic pesticides near their homes. Advanced notice allows the public to take precautions to avoid exposure, such as keeping children and pets inside, closing windows and covering vegetable gardens and grills.

The New York State Pesticide Neighbor Notification Law

The NYS Pesticide Neighbor Notification Law is a common-sense measure that gives the public the right to know when toxic pesticides are sprayed on abutting properties. The state law allows counties to opt-in to the law if they so choose. Once a county opts-in, the law requires that

  • Pesticide applicators give residents 48-hour written notice before spraying harmful pesticides on abutting properties within 150 feet.
  • Pesticide retailers post signage near pesticides that lets their customers know that they are required to post warning signs on their lawns when applying pesticides themselves.

Additional Benefits of the Law

The Neighbor Notification Law does not prohibit applicators from providing their services; it requires them to give advance notice when spraying the most dangerous chemicals. They are not required to give notice when spraying non-toxic or least-toxic pesticides, as well as granular pesticides, which do not drift. This is an incentive for pesticide companies to use the safer alternatives, which ultimately benefits public health and the environment.

Has Your County Passed the Pesticide Neighbor Notification Law?

To date Suffolk, Nassau, Westchester, Rockland, Albany, Tompkins, Erie, Monroe, and Ulster counties, as well as the five Burroughs of NYC, have opted into the New York State Pesticide Neighbor Notification Law.

The Erie County Victory

Thanks to our members and coalition partners, CCE has conducted successful grassroots campaigns to enact the PNN law in Erie County. After years of debate, and successfully implementing a temporary PNN law in 2004 and 2006, the Erie County Legislature has determined that Erie residents should be afforded the right to know when dangerous chemicals are sprayed near their homes on a permanent basis! On November 29, 2006, the Erie County Legislature passed a permanent Pesticide Neighbor Notification Law by a unanimous decision of 15 – 0! The law went into effect permanently on January 1, 2008!

CCE comments to the Erie County Executive on permanent adoption of Pesticide Neighbor Notification, December 14, 2006

The Monroe County Victory

On March 2, 2005, the Environment and Public Works Committee of the Monroe County Legislature voted the referral out of committee by a margin of 5-2! CCE conducted an aggressive grassroots campaign to ensure that the full legislature would pass the Pesticide Neighbor Notification Law. On June 14, 2005, the Monroe County Legislature passed the law 21-8! The law went into effect on January 1, 2006.

 

Updated by bsmith 3/29/10