Environment: Pesticide Notification Working, More Work to be Done

The D&C has a great article on the enforcement of the “48-hour rule” for pesticide use.

Anyone using pesticides on their lawns or gardens must provide “at least 48 hours” advance notice to any property owner whose property touches that property being treated.  It’s a good law, and one that seems thus far to have been implemented to great affect in Monroe County and surrounding New York counties since a State law was passed in 2000 permitting counties to make such requirements.

But more work is needed to get pesticides under reasonable control.  Pesticides are dangerous, usually cancer-causing chemicals whose use needs to be regulated in populated areas. More responsible land management schemes should be better-promoted by our government, letting the public know that it’s possible to have attractive, healthy “green lawns,” instead of constantly relying on petrochemicals for a solution to every critter we don’t like:  

Pesticide alert hits home — but its when-to varies || Democrat & Chronicle: Local News

This year, county health officials have received just a handful of inquiries from residents, said Ricci. But they did not reveal pesticide applicators failing to follow the law. Some complaints were from residents who were unaware that notification before spraying does not kick in when applicators use granular pesticide. Other complaints came from residents who failed to realize that properties across the street from a sprayed lot need not be notified ahead of time.

With granular being exempt from prior notification, the use of this solid form of pesticide seems to be on the rise. Don Burton, president of Lawn Medic, said that his company used between 5 and 6 tons of granular pesticide in Monroe County in 2006 — at least 30 percent more than what was used the year before.

So notification is improving, and therefore of a necessity, the public is becoming better-informed of the dangers of pesticides.  But I don’t think that moving to solid pesticides, much more of which seep into the ground and into our water table, is necessarily the trend to follow.  Also, ignoring the solid-pesticide water table problem, why in the world would properties across the street from sprayed properties not be notified?  The law aught to affect all properties within a certain distance of a treatment, not end at arbitrary landmarks that have no effect on the transportation of airborne chemicals.

And while we’re at it (this is quite funny, actually), check out the comments section, the first commenter.  It takes a nurse to notice that the guy doing the spraying in the picture is wearing no protection at all!  That’s insane.  I don’t know, but I’m reasonably certain that OSHA does require workers to wear protective masks at minimum when handling such materials. 

Again, enforcing this requirement better might go a long way towards turning the public off of such harmful methods of pest control.  Guys walking around your yard looking like the NASA guys in E.T. would probably lower your credibility in your cul-de-sac, I am thinking.

By the way, I’m not looking to put landscapers out of business.  It’s just that we’ve all become a bit too used to using pesticides and landscapers aught to be encouraged to entice customers into using more responsible forms of pest control.

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