Dynamic online map documents local pesticide policies throughout the U.S.
Two national non-profit advocacy groups, Beyond Pesticides and Organic Consumers Association (OCA), recently launched the Map of Local Pesticide Reform Policies, a resource for communities and activists that documents pesticide policies adopted by local communities to protect people, pollinators and the environment. The map spotlights over 115 communities in 21 states that have taken local action to protect their communities from the adverse effects of pesticides by substituting a range of alternative tactics, from eliminating highly toxic chemicals to the adoption of organic practices.
“The Map of Local Pesticide Reform Policies, a continuously updated resource, reflects the wave of change occurring nationwide as local and state policymakers take steps to provide protections to people and the environment that are not provided by federal policy,” said Drew Toher, public education associate for Beyond Pesticides. “The policies adopted so far reveal a strong desire by local governments to advance practices that promote nontoxic alternatives to the toxic weed- and pest-management practices increasingly seen as destructive to the health of humans and their environment.”
“Meaningful change often starts at the local level, when concerned citizens, consumers and grassroots organizations join with elected officials and policymakers to protect health and the environment,” said Patrick Kerrigan, OCA’s retail coordinator. “This new tool will allow consumers, activists and policymakers to replicate or adapt policies that have already been successfully implemented in other communities. This will move policymaking forward faster and more efficiently, across the entire country.”
The Map of Local Pesticide Reform Policies provides public and local leaders with the names and locations of the localities that have passed policies, the type of policy passed, a short description of the scope of the policy, and a link to view the entire text. The policy types covered in this map do not include those relating to the use of pesticides for mosquito control, in schools or in agriculture. This type of policy will be addressed in future updates to the project.
The current edition of the map includes 18 communities with pesticide-free parks programs, 29 with restrictions to protect pollinators, 66 communities with policies that restrict pesticide use on all publicly owned property, and 24 that extend restrictions to private land. (Only seven states do not preempt (prohibit) local jurisdictions from restricting pesticide use on private land).
Beyond Pesticides encourages people to review the accuracy of the information on the map, and email to email@example.com with policies that have not been captured on the map. Citizens interested in initiating a pesticide policy in their own community can sign up here for more information.
Of the 30 most commonly used pesticides, 16 are possible and/or known carcinogens, 17 have the potential to disrupt the endocrine (hormonal) system, 21 are linked to reproductive effects and sexual dysfunction, 12 have been linked to birth defects, 14 are neurotoxic, 25 can cause kidney or liver damage, and 26 are sensitizers and/or irritants. Children are especially sensitive to pesticide exposure, as they take in more pesticides relative to their body weight than adults and have developing organ systems that are more vulnerable and less able to detoxify toxic chemicals. Pollinator populations are experiencing catastrophic declines linked to the use of a class of systemic pesticides called neonicotinoids, which are taken up by plants and expressed in their pollen, nectar and dew droplets.
About Beyond Pesticides
Beyond Pesticides is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., which works with allies in protecting public health and the environment to lead the transition to a world free of toxic pesticides through a program of science, policy and action. For more information, please visit www.beyondpesticides.org.
About the Organic Consumers Association
The Organic Consumers Association is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public-interest organization advocating on behalf of more than two million consumers for health, justice, and sustainability. For more information, please visit www.organicconsumers.org.
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