School Pesticide Debate Heats Up in the Denver Summer
The same debate we’ve seen unfold in at least a half dozen other states in the past two years is grabbing headlines in Colorado. On one side a group of concerned parents thinks lawn pesticides are dangerous; on the other, a group of lawn care professionals who claim the products are safe when used as directed.
“Those chemicals aren’t toxic unless you use them inappropriately . . .” was a well-worn statement from a woman representing the lawn chemical industry. She was quoted in this article in a Denver newspaper: http://www.ednewscolorado.org/2011/06/27/20750-parents-urge-dps-to-end-herbicide-use.
That statement in itself is blatantly false. The products — which always say KEEP OUT OF THE REACH OF CHILDREN on the bag — are ALWAYS toxic. That’s why the warning labels are in place.
The real issue is reasonable risk. In other words, are the children at the school at risk after Trugreen applies the products, even if the wind conditions are low and the company is doing everything the law says it must?
In Canada, as we celebrated yesterday, that answer is no. School spraying should be off-limits everywhere in the U.S., too, just as it is in New York and Connecticut. The products are dangerous everywhere; the laws should be the same from Maine to California.
Just yesterday I noticed a neighbor’s lawn had been sprayed with 2,4-D here in Rhode Island and the posted sign warned to stay off the grass for 72 hours. Yet in some states, after spraying 2,4-D, the only requirement is to stay off the grass until the product dries, which can be a matter of minutes on a warm, breezy day.
So which is it? Safe after 72 hours, or safe after a few minutes?
These are our children we’re talking about. We really shouldn’t be guessing.