Monday, July 7, 2008

Pesticide Ban will Make a Better Place to Live

They are picking on us.

“…the county of Albemarle, Virginia is contemplating banning pesticide use in all of its parks and schools. Another article I read apparently quoted Jackie Lombardo of the National Sierra Club Toxins Committee as saying, “We’re seeing chemicals and materials that 75 years ago didn’t exist . . .We’re at a point where kids – our canaries in coal mines – are getting sicker and sicker”…But please don’t tell me that banning pesticides and fertilizers is going to make your county a better place to live . . .We live in a dangerous world. I, for one, don’t want to be told by Chicken Little that he knows a better way . . .”

Chicken Little? That’s ok. I’ve been called worse. Reducing, and hopefully banning, pesticides will undoubtedly make communities healthier and therefore better places to live. Pesticides are designed to kill and cannot discriminate between insects, pets, or children.

Pesticides are not only capable of causing immediate poisonings (vomiting, breathing difficulty, rashes, coma, nausea, convulsions, etc.) but pesticides are also capable of causing long-term adverse health effects like learning disabilities, birth defects, cancer, Parkinson’s, neurotoxicity, and sterility, among others.

Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of pesticides. Their bodies and brains are still developing and if something interferes with development, the result is permanent. There is no cure. And it’s clear, something is interfering with children’s development today:

- 1 in every 6 children in the United States today has a permanent learning disability,

- 1 in every 94 boys born today in America will develop autism,

- from 1975 to 1998, bone and joint cancers in young children rose by 65%, brain cancers rose by over 38%, nervous system tumors rose by 30%, and teenagers saw a 128% increase in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute)

- asthma is now epidemic and the leading cause of hospitalization for children.

Children are unknowingly exposed to hazardous chemicals daily like:
1. carcinogens in their shampoo -

2. carcinogens in their food -

3. lead in their toys -

4. bisphenol A in their baby bottles -

5. and pesticides in their schools -

And children are unwillingly becoming polluted. Increasing concentrations of chemicals continue to be found in the bodies of mothers and children by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Scientists have discovered babies today are born pre-polluted with chemicals detected in their tiny bodies received through the umbilical cord of their mother.

Could this be a contributing factor as to why children today are so sick? No one knows. Health is way to complicated. But when American babies have 22 different pesticide metabolites detected in their blood on the first day of life, our failure to regulate the safety and use of chemicals is obvious. Chemicals like pesticides are behaving in ways never anticipated, and certainly not ever intended, by chemists.

Over and over we see a chemical introduced and presumed safe like lead in gasoline, tobacco, asbestos, DDT, PCBs, and just recently, two more pesticides, commonly used on school and park fields across America for weeds. MSMA & DSMA, arsenical compound pesticides, were recently pulled by the EPA because now we are certain they are carcinogenic to humans.

But parents don’t need proof, we need precaution. Better safe than sorry. So…if asthma rates are epidemic in children, remove the asthmagens. If cancer rates are up, remove the carcinogens. And if learning disabilities are epidemic, remove the neurotoxins and use safer alternatives.

Educate yourself about nontoxic solutions and work to ban pesticides in your community. For more information:

1. The CDC
Reducing Pesticide Exposures at School

2. The National Library of Medicine
Pesticides used in schools can be especially harmful to children

3. Example of Non-Toxic Pest Management Program for Schools

4. The EPA
Protecting Children in Schools from Pests and Pesticides

5. Oregon State University
Indoor Air Quality and Pesticides:

6. Ontario College of Family Physicians
Comprehensive Review of Pesticide Research Confirms Dangers

7. Pesticide Environ. Stewardship Program, National Foundation for IPM Education
Reducing Indoor Pesticide Risks
"...even with proper application, not realize pesticides persist indoors long after they would breakdown outdoors with the benefit of bacteria and sunlight."

8. Univ. FLA
Least Toxic Cockroach Management Strategies

9. Example Safer Alternative Pest Control

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Stop Pesticides in Albemarle County Public Schools, Virginia!
Please Distribute Far and Wide!
Friends and Advocates for Children, Teachers and Schools F.A.C.T.S.

*** Immediate Action Needed! ***
Please Help Make Albemarle Schools and Parks “Pesticides-Free Zones“!

Children deserve to be protected from ants and weeds. But we need to be sure that in our efforts to prevent pests, we aren’t creating life-long disabilities.

If you do not share your views, AC government officials will chose how much risk from pesticides is acceptable for your child, without you.

On June 4th, the AC Board of Supervisors will decide whether or not AC public parks will be Pesticide Free Zones.

On July 10th, AC public schools will decide whether the risk of harm from daily use of EPA registered pesticides known to be asthmagenic to clean school bathrooms, and occasional use of carcinogenic (Fipronil) and neurotoxic (Deltamethrin, Imidacloprid,Hydramethylnon) pesticides to conquer ants is acceptable risk.

Health problems among children nationwide and in ACPSs have soared over the last 20 years, and no one knows why. With so many children already with a health condition, “just-a-little-bit” of poison in schools is NOT ok!

Tell AC officials loud and clear,
for children and teachers

Help stop pesticide applications where children learn and play!

On June 13, 2007, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors called for an immediate moratorium on pesticides for public land and parks. The AC School Board did not.

On June 4, 2008, at 9:00 a.m. the Board of Supervisors will hear the report on Integrated Pest Management. They will decide whether or not AC will have Pesticide-Free Zones in public parks!

On July 10, 2008, at 6:30 p.m. the School Board will hear the same report and decide if Albemarle County Public Schools will continue to allow neurotoxic and carcinogen pesticides or become Pesticide-Free Zones for children!

Now, more than ever, children and teachers need your help.

1. Come to the meeting!

2. Email! (Please CC us at
Copy and paste the sample below or write your own to:
A. AC Board of Supervisors
B. AC School Board
C. Diane Behrens, Executive Director Support Services

3. Write a Letter to the Editor!
A. The Daily Progress
B. C-Ville

Tell Albemarle County Officials:
Make our Schools and Parks Safe, Pesticides-Free Zones!

Sample Email:

Subject: Make Albemarle Schools and Parks Pesticides-Free Zones!

Dear Honorable Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and School Board,

I am deeply concerned that despite a moratorium on pesticides on school fields, Albemarle County public schools are still using toxic pesticides near children and teachers. Premise II (Imidacloprid) is a neurotoxin banned in France in 1999 but used April 9, 2008 at Agnor-Hurt Elementary on ant trails. Please do not use neurotoxins, deemed to toxic for another country’s children almost a decade ago, near our children. A sweep with a broom, caulking entrance holes, boric acid, and if necessary pesticide baits in tamper-resistant containers, would solve an ant problem quickly and permanently. Using neurotoxins on ants is overkill; near children, it’s irresponsible.

Termidor (Fipronil) was used April 28, 2008 at Red Hill Elementary and Sutherland MS and again on May 2, 2008 at Murray Elementary School. Termidor (Fipronil) is a persistent suspected carcinogen and endocrine disruptor that this study shows the smallest doses are more toxic than larger ones in mutating and killing human cells. “Fipronil is a relatively new insecticide…a precautionary approach may be warranted. …it would appear unwise to use fipronil-based insecticides without… human health monitoring…where use brings it into contact with people.” Please, stop and use safer alternatives.

It is distressing the following pesticides also remain on the pest control list for schools:
- Suspend SC (Deltamethrin) - a suspected neurotoxic and carcinogenic permethrin that the Environmental Protection Agency reports causes “skin irritation, dizziness, twitching, potential autoimmune disease and nervous disorders...may also be neurotoxic during development…and likely to be carcinogenic in humans.”
- Siege Gel (Hydramethylnon) - a recognized developmental toxin, reproductive toxin, and suspected carcinogen that the EPA classifies as having “serious or irreversible” health effects in humans including cancer.

Children and teachers deserve to be protected from ants and weeds, but Albemarle County must be completely certain their efforts to prevent pests are not linked to life-long disabilities. Mounting evidence links pesticides with asthma, learning problems, and cancer. The Virginia Dept of Education’s report shows today, almost 1 in every 3 ACPS students suffers from a permanent, life-long health condition. 1 in every 6 students in ACPS’s is enrolled in special education for a developmental, emotional, or learning problem and asthma is the number on medical condition.

With so many children already with a health condition, “just-a-little-bit” of poison in schools is NOT ok!

As adults, we create the environment they live in. As AC officials, you have the ability to set a goal of Pesticide Free Zones. Pesticide Free Zones not only can be done but are being done successfully (see below) in schools and parks across the country. We are confident that AC can also learn how.

Significant associations between occupation and breast cancer are found among teachers. The number one health condition affecting janitors is asthma. Teachers, staff, parents and students have a right to know. Pesticides also end up in our drinking water and waterways. Our Shenandoah River is listed as one of the 10 most endangered waterways, with reports of fish kills increasing and scientists continuing to collect samples of chemicals, including pesticides, from the water.

1. Adopt a permanent ban on pesticides making Albemarle County Public Schools, parks and buildings Pesticide-Free Zones. Follow the states and local governments using alternatives to managing pests without poisons.

2. Reserve pesticides ONLY for a true pest emergency, if a pest endangers the health of children or teachers.

3. In that case, post signs and send letters to teachers and parents as recommended by the Virginia Pesticide Control Board. Following the rules will help schools avoid near miss situations, like at Jack Jouett MS last year, where the neurotoxin Deltamethrin was almost applied in the cafeteria less than 2 hours before the 8th Grade dance. Neither the teachers nor the parents or the children, not even the principal, was aware a pesticide application was about to take place. The Pesticide Control Board understands proper communication is essential to avoid dangerous, near miss situations with pesticides and children.

Thank you for your time.

Your Name

You did it Again! Thank You for Speaking out
on Behalf of Children and Teachers!