Letters Worth Sharing
Last night we screened the film A Chemical Reaction in Falmouth, Maine, and, as always, we encouraged people to take action soon afterward by writing letters to editors of newspapers, to their elected officials, to their homeowners’ association etc. A sign-up sheet was circulated so people could stay connected by email to discuss ideas about pesticide prohibition in their own communities.
Just this morning, less than 10 hours from leaving the theater, we were blind copied on three letters that have already been drafted and mailed. All three serve as good models for everyone in every town:
(To a local elected official)
Last night, I attended the Falmouth screening of Brett Plymale and Paul Tukey’s documentary A Chemical Reaction. Watching it for the fourth time, with the deeply concerned citizens of a local Southern Maine town, finally galvanized me into action. There’s often a feeling at these movie screenings that we’re helpless at the hands of red-tape and industrial pressure. I decided to write to you because I think of you as someone who believes we CAN meet any bureaucratic challenge and, in helping our own community do the right thing, lead the way for other towns to adopt a healthier approach.
The movie we watched chronicles the relentless efforts of a dermatologist in Hudson, Quebec, who helped her constituents understand the dangers of lawn pesticides and eventually convinced the Town Council to enact a ban. This, of course, led to many years of litigation for the town, but they won at every level, including the Supreme Court of Quebec. A new law was passed, called the ‘Precautionary Principle,’ which now protects the health of Canadians in several provinces and has been adopted in many other countries. Here’s a link to the 4-minute movie trailer: www.chemicalreactionmovie.com.
Closer to home……… On May 14th, as I was dropping off my 12 year old son ‘J’ at his playing field, I could smell a high density of the herbicide 2,4–D. Upon walking to the fields, dying dandelions and clover were in evidence everywhere. Alarmed, I tried to find the grounds supervisor and ended up speaking to a couple of teenage employees who earnestly believed that the fields were treated organically and safely…… This kind of “green-washing” misinformation is epidemic … This was a serious health risk for the hundreds of people on the fields. 2,4–D was one of the main ingredients in the defoliant Agent Orange. It is a powerful endocrine disruptor, which means it wreaks havoc to ALL living things by damaging the hormonal system and respiration at the cellular level. It has been statistically and physically linked to a myriad of degenerative diseases in children, adults and is devastating to dogs. Any of our town’s completely weed-free playing fields are getting annual doses of this and / or similar herbicides.
We need to protect our families from these unnecessary toxic chemicals!
There are several towns in ME, NH and MA with lawn pesticide ordinances in place and New York State just joined CT by banning the use of pesticides around all school grounds and playing fields http://www.safelawns.org/blog/index.php/2010/05/new-york-school-pesticide-bill-becomes-law/.
Several local physicians are interested in joining me in these early stages to support the passage of a similar ordinance to protect the health of Cape children on our public places and we would encourage a complete ban on aesthetic lawn chemicals in our town. Between us, we know we can rally a large group of concerned citizens.
I would be happy to meet with you to discuss this issue and can supply you with any background information, research and existing ordinances.
Many thanks for all you do for our town.
(To a state representative)
Tonight I attended Cool Falmouth’s presentation of the movie by Paul Tukey called A Chemical Reaction. It is outstanding. I learned a lot. I will work with people in town to ban chemicals on the public places. There is no need for them, and they are likely harmful to our children and population.
I also learned that New York state has banned chemicals from their school lawns and gardens, also. I strongly believe that Maine should follow New York’s lead. I would ask you to consider taking the lead on this in the state legislature.
Thanks for all that you do!
Mark Braun, MD
(To a local newspaper)
To the editor,
Tonight I watched one of the best documentary movies I’ve ever seen produced and, remarkably, it was directed right here in Maine by a local hero, Brett Plymale, and produced by a local legend, Paul Tukey. I need to encourage you to let your readers know about this most important film. You can find the trailer here at www.chemicalreactionmovie.com.
We also need to be covering this story more, both in our town meetings and on your pages. Products used to kill so-called weeds on lawns are negatively impacting everything from our children and pets, to our water supplies and air quality. As Canada has decided, there is no reason to use these “cosmetic” chemicals for the sake of aesthetic beauty. It is time to follow Canada’s lead and ban the applications of weed killers on lawns. Did you know, for example, that Home Depot in Canada doesn’t sell lawn and garden pesticides any longer due to the health risks? Don’t we have to ask ourselves why Home Depot in the U.S. still does sell them? I think it’s part of your job to ask those questions.
Jim Joyce, a concerned citizen