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Safe Grow Montgomery is pleased that lawmakers have listened to residents, businesses, and organizations across Montgomery County concerning unwanted exposure to harmful lawn pesticides.
We are grateful to Council Vice President Leventhal for developing Bill 52-14 to address residents’ concerns and to Councilmembers Marc Elrich, Nancy Floreen, Nancy Navarro, and Hans Riemer for their co-sponsorship of the bill.

The bill proposes to restrict the use of certain harmful synthetic lawn pesticides, including herbicides, insecticides, and others used for non-essential aesthetic purposes on manicured grasses. It will still allow pesticide use for agriculture, invasive species, noxious weeds, and golf courses.

If passed, this would be a landmark ordinance to protect families, especially children and pregnant women, pets, wildlife (including pollinators), our waterways, and the wider environment from the hazards of the unnecessary use of lawn pesticides in Montgomery County.

 The ubiquitous use of pesticides in landscaping has given many the false notion that these chemicals are harmless.

While U.S. EPA regulatory policies can lag by decades in adequately acting on the growing body of scientific evidence of pesticides’ adverse effects on human and environmental health, this bill is an important step for a local community like Montgomery County to proactively protect the health of its residents, especially those that are most vulnerable.

Adult and pediatric cancers, reproductive, endocrine and neurological problems, Parkinson’s Disease, learning disabilities, ADHD, autism, asthma, and other health harms linked to the exposure of these chemicals also financially impact individuals and the County in terms of health expenses and lost productivity at work and school.
Babies and children are uniquely susceptible to the harms posed by pesticides due to their rapidly developing bodies and immature immune system. In 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reviewed the available scientific literature and issued a landmark report and statement that “prenatal and early childhood exposure to pesticides is associated with pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function and behavioral problems”.

The AAP identified lawn and garden pesticide applications as a source and mechanism of exposure and recommended government agencies work towards reducing children’s pesticide exposure.
Lawn pesticides indiscriminately expose everyone without consent. The use and effects of these pesticides do not end at invisible property borders – the chemical vapors and dust can move off target for miles, contaminating our common air, water, and soil. In suburban and urban settings, lawns are situated closer to where large numbers of people live, work, shop, and play, making it difficult for the public to avoid pesticide exposure from treated spaces, placing families and communities in a constant state of toxic assault. The public, especially children, are commonly exposed to the harmful effects of these pesticides through inhaling, absorbing, or ingesting of these pesticide particles. 

The majority of Canada has implemented similar policies restricting use of pesticides for cosmetic or aesthetic reasons on lawns. They have demonstrated success with these policies. The passage of the bill will place Montgomery County as leaders in Maryland moving towards healthy sustainable lawn care. It is our hope that all council members will support Bill 52-14 in the protection of public health throughout Montgomery County.

We encourage residents, businesses, and organizations to contact council members to express support for the bill and to attend the public hearing once it is scheduled.

Thank you,

Safe Grow Montgomery

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