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Baseball Fields Sprayed, Host Youth Games 30 Minutes Later

With Keep off the Grass Sign evident in the foreground, a baseball game takes place Wednesday evening at 5 p.m. on a field that had been treated with synthetic toxic weed killers at approximately 4:30 p.m. (Sandy Syburg photo)

With the Keep off the Grass Sign evident in the foreground, a baseball game takes place Wednesday evening at 5 p.m. on a field that had been treated with synthetic toxic weed killers at approximately 4:30 p.m. (Sandy Syburg photo)

It happens, undoubtedly, often and everywhere. Poisons are sprayed to kill weeds on sports fields, the warning signs are posted . . . and the signs are ignored.

Rarely, though, do we get photographic evidence directly from a SafeLawns member.

At shortly before 5 p.m. Wednesday the fields around the Stonebank School in Oconomowoc, Wi., were sprayed with synthetic chemical weed killers and posted by the lawn care company. Minutes later a baseball game began.

“The turf was still wet with the product,” said Sandy Syburg, founder of Purple Cow Organics and owner of an abutting organic farm. “The school indicated they notified parents via email and an automated phone alert system and the contractor did not apply during school hours. (But) the teams that use this ‘public’ ball fields are from a number of neighboring communities and are members of an area youth baseball league.”

Concerned for the health of the players, Syburg said he requested a roster of the players of the four teams be created and a notification of the pesticide exposure sent to the parents of each child/player.

“In addition I recommended a cross reference of absence from school the following day by the players or siblings be recorded with the roster file,” he said. “Any other symptoms of headache, nausea, rash etc. is to be reported by the parent to the health room — or from the health room to the parents — should also be cross referenced and recorded with the roster.”

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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