Who Should Regulate Pesticides?
An op-ed piece in the Baltimore Sun today raises some interesting questions about the regulation of pesticides used on lawns and gardens: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/bs-ed-pesticides-20101128,0,7781575.story.
In most states the regulation of pesticides falls within the realm of the Department of Agriculture or agricultural sub-committees of state legislatures. And, as it relates to farmers using weed killers, insect killers and fungicides, most people don’t have any issues with that governance. The Baltimore Sun piece suggests, however, that regulation of pesticides would be better suited for the Department of the Environment.
This question came up at the recent Maine Pesticide Summit. Since Departments of Agriculture are typically supportive of anything to do with farming — including the unbridled use of pesticides as long as the pesticides are approved by the federal government — these DOAs have historically been reluctant to touch the issue of home pesticide use. They fear that restricting home-use pesticides would eventually lead to restrictions on pesticides used for farming.
But could, and should, community pesticide restrictions be moved outside of the Departments of Agriculture? It would certainly seem like a prudent decision in this modern age when some communities don’t even have ANY agriculture going on within their jurisdiction.