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CCE PRESS CENTER

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release:
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
For more information contact:
Louis W. Burch, Government Relations, 203.821.7050, 475.434.1606 (mobile), lburch@citizenscampaign.org

LEGISLATURE VOTES TO BAN PESTICIDES ON MUNICIPAL PLAYGROUNDS IN CONNECTICUT

Legislation takes step to protect children's health from pesticides and improves parents' right to know when pesticides are applied on school grounds

Hartford, CT— Today, the CT General Assembly passed legislation to ban pesticides on municipal playgrounds in CT, building on existing bans on CT school grounds. The new law is aimed at protecting small children, pets, and wildlife from unnecessary exposure to dangerous pesticides.

“This is an important step forward in protecting the health and well being of our most vulnerable populations,” said Louis Burch of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “Pesticides have been shown to contribute to cancer, asthma and developmental delays, and they disproportionately hurt our children. By eliminating these poisons on public spaces where our children play, we are sparing an entire generation of youngsters from the potential health hazards associated with exposure to pesticides. This is a significant victory, and it sets a good example for other states to follow.”

The law also improves the existing parents' notification system by requiring school districts to provide at least 24 hour electronic notification any time a pesticide application is scheduled to occur on school property.

“Providing advanced notice of pesticide applications allows parents to take precautions to protect their children from unnecessary exposure,” continued Burch. “Providing this right to know is a commonsense improvement, and we commend the legislature for taking this step.”

Connecticut established itself as a nationwide leader on this important public health issue in 2005, when it became the first state in the nation to prohibit the use of lawn care pesticides on school athletic fields serving grades K-6. That law was expanded in 2009 to include middle school fields (Grades 7 and 8). This gradual expansion represents a growing consensus among the health and science communities that chemical pesticides pose a disproportionate and undue risk to children.

“As we have recognized for many years in Connecticut, children are particularly endangered by pesticides – because these chemicals accumulate in kids’ growing bodies faster than for the rest of us,” said Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, House Chairman of the Education Committee, which drafted the 2005 and 2009 laws prohibiting pesticide use on school fields. “This measure represents a great step forward for our state, safeguarding our children from these toxic chemicals on town playgrounds – and ensuring that parents get notice when pesticides are used at public schools,” he added.

“Time and time again pesticides have been shown to have serious health and environmental consequences, and it is critical that we begin limiting their use,” said Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr., Senate Chair of the Environment Committee. “By keeping playgrounds off of playgrounds and school property, we limit their exposure to those who are most likely to become ill as a result of them. Improving our state’s notification procedures will better inform parents about pesticide and herbicide applications at their children’s schools.”

"This is an important law that will help parents protect their young children from the harmful effects of pesticides," said Senator Danté Bartolomeo, Senate Chair of the Committee on Children. "Pesticides have been linked to serious health problems, particularly in pregnant women and children, and I am glad we have acted to limit their use. Communities such as Cheshire, one of the towns I am proud to represent, have shown us that using these toxic chemicals is not necessary to maintain public green spaces. I believe this commitment to non-toxic landscaping is an admirable goal that I would like to see adopted by more Connecticut communities."

“We have worked long and hard to protect children from unnecessary exposure to pesticides,” said Rep. Diana Urban, House Chair of the Committee on Children. “This is a major step forward in assuring our children's health. I often encourage parents to read the warning labels on commercial pesticides and then decide if they want them anywhere near their children. Kudos to the advocates for their tenacity and many thanks to my colleagues for their help and support, particularly my co-chair on the Children's Committee Sen Bartolomeo”.

“After years of input and debate,” said Rep. Shaban (R), Ranking Member of the Environment Committee. “I’m pleased that we were finally able to craft a bill that focused on the main goal of the initial ban -- protecting young children -- while being sympathetic to the real world needs of state and municipal property managers.”

“This is a big step forward in toxins reforms for CT,” said Senator Beth Bye, Senate Chair of the Appropriations Committee. “Parents will now know when pesticides are used at their child's schools and have the information they need to advocate for safer school grounds.”

"We know many pesticides are toxic not only to their intended targets, but to our children and wildlife as well," said Rep. Terry Backer. "The more pesticides we can remove from the environment, particularly for ornamental use, the more children we will protect in the future."
“We recognize that children haven’t fully developed their defenses, and that exposure to pesticides is problematic," said State Rep. Philip Miller, House Chair of the Committee on Planning and Development. "This bill protects our vulnerable children and it forces landscapers to use sustainable practice to uphold public health by reducing those exposures."

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Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) empowers communities and advocates solutions for our shared environment and public health and is supported by over 80,000 members throughout New York State and Connecticut. www.citizenscampaign.org

updated by lburch  7/1/15