ASK FOR INFORMATION: Residents may ask the HOA board or management company for the Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) of the lawn chemicals being used. The MSDS will list the immediate health risks of exposure. Lawn chemical applicators will usually use different lawn chemicals at different times of the season.
GET SUPPORT AND PRESENT YOUR INFORMATION: Start the conversation with your neighbors. Get like-minded neighbors to come with you to the HOA meeting. Let board members know that you are concerned about the health risks associated with ongoing exposure to lawn chemicals used in the community spaces. Present information from reliable sources stating the health risks.
Good places to start for lawn chemical related health risks and studies:
www.beyondpesticides.org/gateway/ and www.RachelCarsonCouncil.org
For natural lawn care information: www.SafeLawns.org
WHAT TO ASK THE BOARD: Ask the board to vote to stop the use of the lawn chemicals throughout the community. You may also ask to start with limited restrictions, for example, stop the use of the chemicals in particular common areas, especially where children play (tot-lots, open green spaces, etc). Ask the board to have the landscapers post notices throughout the community 48 hours in advance of applications, so residents can take precautions.
START A PETITION: If your HOA does not want to consider ending lawn chemical use, start a petition to get the support of more residents in your neighborhood, and present it to your HOA. Also, have residents send emails to the HOA in support of change.
CONSIDER RUNNING FOR YOUR HOA: As you are campaigning, say that you are concerned about the use of lawn care chemicals in your neighborhood and you want to make some changes to minimize their use.
INFORM THE PRESS: Help bring awareness to your neighborhood. Write about it to your community newsletter, list-serves and local newspapers. Give your group a name and keep the local press informed about what you have asked your HOA to do. Outlets include the local online PATCH, The Gazette, and other local papers.
GET INVOLVED AT THE LOCAL LEVEL FOR PERMANENT CHANGE:
Sign and share the online petition to restrict the use of these harmful chemicals on lawns throughout the county: bit.ly/BanLawnPesticides.
Consider getting involved with grassroots campaigns. Write to local Councilmembers to let them know the concerns in your community. In Montgomery County, send letters to: firstname.lastname@example.org