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Anti-Pesticide Stand Works in Florida

Chalk up a victory for just saying no. When Debra McCormack heard that a pesticide known to cause all sorts of health maladies was going to be sprayed on her local golf course, she stood up. Remarkably, the manufacturer caved.

The pesticide, Curfew, has long been sanctioned by state and federal regulators and previous attempts to get city and county officials to ban its use had failed. The manufacturer, Dow Chemical Company — the same company that is suing the Canadian government for its pesticide bans — was not known as one to back down.

McCormack and other activists, according to the Tampa Tribune, hammered the Tampa Sports Authority, which manages the city-owned golf course, with phone calls and email.

“Since when is green grass more important than protecting the health of people?” McCormack told the newspaper.

Stunningly, Dow pulled the pesticide used to kill grubs — yet continued to defend its use at thousands of other golf courses around North America.

“Dow Agro Sciences will not place the applicator, itself, or the product in a volatile situation that could result in unfounded allegations, the unnecessary expenditure of regulatory resources or potential litigation,” Dow spokesman Tim Maniscalo said.

The active ingredient in Curfew, a soil fumigant, is 1,3-dichloropropene. The Material Safety Data Sheets acknowledge the product can cause kidney, lung and liver damage, and death if inhaled. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies it as a possible carcinogen.

So what’s the lesson here? It’s clear. Speak up often and speak up loudly. Eventually your voice will be heard.

About The Author

Paul Tukey

An international leader of the green movement, Mr. Tukey is a journalist, author, filmmaker, TV host, activist and award-winning public speaker, who is widely recognized as North America's leading advocate for landscape sustainability and toxic pesticide reduction strategies.

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  • Sally Mitchell

    You go, girl. This is a great lesson in community activism.

  • Peter Raymont

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Letters and phone calls. Oldest tactic in the book and it always works if you’re relentless enough.

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