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Natural Awakenings Fairfield & Southern Litchfield Counties

CT Legislature Votes to Ban Pesticides on Municipal Playgrounds

At the end of June, the Connecticut General Assembly passed legislation to ban pesticides on municipal playgrounds in the state, building on existing bans on Connecticut school grounds. The new law is aimed at protecting small children, pets and wildlife from unnecessary exposure to dangerous pesticides.

“This is an important step forward in protecting the health and well being of our most vulnerable populations,” said Louis Burch of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “Pesticides have been shown to contribute to cancer, asthma and developmental delays, and they disproportionately hurt our children. By eliminating these poisons on public spaces where our children play, we are sparing an entire generation of youngsters from the potential health hazards associated with exposure to pesticides. This is a significant victory, and it sets a good example for other states to follow.”

The law also improves the existing parents’ notification system by requiring school districts to provide electronic notification at least 24 hours before a pesticide application is scheduled to occur on school property.

“Providing advanced notice of pesticide applications allows parents to take precautions to protect their children from unnecessary exposure,” continued Burch. “Providing this right to know is a commonsense improvement, and we commend the legislature for taking this step.”

Connecticut established itself as a nationwide leader on this public health issue in 2005, when it became the first state in the nation to prohibit the use of lawn care pesticides on elementary school athletic fields. That law was expanded in 2009 to include middle school fields. This gradual expansion represents a growing consensus among the health and science communities that chemical pesticides pose a disproportionate and undue risk to children.

“As we have recognized for many years in Connecticut, children are particularly endangered by pesticides – because these chemicals accumulate in kids’ growing bodies faster than for the rest of us,” said Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, house chairman of the Education Committee, which drafted the 2005 and 2009 laws prohibiting pesticide use on school fields.