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New York School Pesticide Bill Becomes Law!

As expected, New York Governor David Paterson signed the historic New York school pesticide bill into law on Tuesday afternoon. SafeLawns plans to distribute this press release nationwide today:

Natural Lawncare Advocates Applaud
New York’s Anti-Pesticide Bill

Natural lawncare advocates are celebrating the signing of a tough anti-pesticide bill by New York Governor David Paterson. The Child Safe Playing Fields Act, which bans the use of chemical pesticides on school playing fields and playgrounds, is being called “historic” by the founder of SafeLawns.org, North America’s leading natural lawncare advocacy group.

“We need to protect children from the toxic effects of pesticides such as weed killers, insecticides and fungicides,” said Paul Tukey, the founder of SafeLawns.org and author of The Organic Lawn Care Manual (Storey, 2007). “Numerous studies indicate these chemical substances are not safe for children, pets or the planet. I believe that the New York state legislature, Senate and governor have ‘fired a shot’ that will be heard around the entire country.”

The Child Safe Playing Fields Act bans the use of chemical pesticides on school playing fields and day care playgrounds, although chemicals can still be used on surrounding green areas and inside schools to combat pests. Chemical companies lobbied heavily against the bill.

Tukey, who consults with municipalities and lawn care professionals across the U.S. and Canada, said achieving adequate turfgrass playing fields with natural, organic methods is easily attainable. In the long run, he said, the organic process is less expensive and safer.

“Numerous examples of natural lawns exist across North America, and studies indicate that the playing surfaces look great,” said Tukey. “Plus, natural lawncare helps the bottom line due to a reduced need for mowing, watering and pesticide applications.”

In fact, a new feature-length documentary called A Chemical Reaction, traces the story of how the small town of Hudson, Quebec, became the first municipality in North America to completely ban lawn chemicals. That law was upheld by the Canadian Supreme Court in 2001. Nearly two decades of organic lawn care later, the lawns in Hudson are looking quite green and healthy. “You don’t need synthetic chemicals to have a nice lawn,” said Tukey.

Today, lawn chemicals are now banned in more than half of Canada and are not sold in Home Depot and other major retail chains in that country. The same lawn chemicals are still sold in the U.S., however. Tukey sees the New York bill that prevents chemical pesticides on school playing fields as a major step toward other restrictions on lawncare chemicals throughout the United States.

“As Americans, we have to ask ourselves why we are subjecting our kids and pets to toxic chemicals when our friends north of the border began outlawing these poisons nearly two decades ago,” said Tukey.

NOTE: DVD copies of the movie, A Chemical Reaction, are available at www.safelawns.org/chemical-reaction/.

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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