Turf chemical applications

Norman Goldenberg, vice president-government affairs, TruGreen-Chemlawn

TruGreen-Chemlawn supports reasonable posting and notification requirements throughout the United States. We already post landscape-pesticide applications in all states -- voluntarily doing so even where it is not required. Additionally, TruGreen-Chemlawn notifies abutters to its customers who wish to be notified even if no requirement for this exists.

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Rather than complying with a patchwork of varying state regulations, TruGreen-Chemlawn would like to see the adoption of consistent regulations. Signs should be posted at a site at the time of application so that citizens are aware of such applications. Further, regulations should provide for the notification of abutters whose properties touch each other. However, we oppose regulations that require blanket notification of all abutters regardless of their desire to be notified. A state regulatory agency should provide a list or registry of those citizens who wish to be notified when a contiguous landscape area is treated. Those seeking notification should submit an application to the state agency indicating their desire to be notified at least 24 hours in advance of their neighbor's landscape application. The state would then periodically send out a list of those seeking notification to all commercial applicators.

TruGreen-Chemlawn and other lawn-care professionals utilize products with the same active ingredients as those that homeowners can purchase. An effort to advise through notification and posting seems nullified and incongruous when the non-regulated community, which uses 80 percent or more of the pesticide products, does not have to comply with any of the requirements of the regulated community.

Carl L. Marcellino, state senator, New York

For the past 2 years, I have been working to enact a Neighbor Notification Bill in New York State. I believe it is critically important to protect ourselves from exposure to pesticides.

Notifying nearby properties before spraying pesticides is simply a matter of being a good neighbor. With notification, those with respiratory or other problems can avoid an exposure that could cause serious effects. Plus, there is a great deal we don't know about long-term effects of pesticides, so it makes sense to be cautious. If we don't know about an application in advance, we can't excercise that caution.

My bill requires advance notification to nearby properties by commercial applicators spraying pesticides outdoors. Neighbors could then avoid exposures, especially to children and pets. For example, they could store the grill, cover play equipment or close their windows. Prior notification is the key to providing these options.

Because homeowners use many of the same products as commercial applicators, the bill would require residents to place warning signs on their property when they treat their own lawns. Signs in retail establishments would alert customers to this requirement. My bill is the first to address the use of lawn pesticides by homeowners -- a major, but sometimes overlooked, source of exposure.

Developing legislation to meet the concerns of all parties involved in this issue has been a long and difficult process. However, the premise of my bill is not to prohibit pesticides; it is to provide the information residents need to make their own choices regarding exposure. That seems to me to be the very least we can do to minimize risks.

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