Exposure to lawn care pesticides is a health concern for children, pregnant women, adults, lawn care workers, the elderly, chemically sensitive people, pets, pollinators and you.
Ongoing low dose exposure to toxins such as glyphosate– commonly used in lawn care to get rid of weeds in sidewalks, lawns and mulched areas –was determined as a probable carcinogenic in March 2015 by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
We are only weeks away now from a vote by Montgomery County Councilmembers on a Healthy Lawns Bill 52-14 that will reduce exposure to glyphosate and other chemicals used in lawn care!
How did we get here?
I am proud to be part of a group of committed Montgomery County volunteers called Safe Grow Montgomery. We are parents who all have advocated, educated our communities, helped pass a similar law in Takoma Park, MD, and then talked with our Montgomery County legislators about the health concerns we all face by using chemicals such as glyphosate, and many more, in our public and privates spaces.
More than 50 non-profits and local businesses in Montgomery County also support this bill.
Six out of nine County Councilmembers are in support of Bill 52-14. The bill was sponsored by current President of the County Council, George Leventhal and co- sponsored by: Nancy Floreen, Marc Elrich, Hans Riemer, Nancy Navarro and Tom Hucker. We are thankful to our local politicians. They listened to us and the thousands of Montgomery residents that have sent in letters. These Councilmembers have also read the letters and heard testimony from various scientists and doctors who also state that ongoing exposure to these chemicals can cause a variety of illnesses, from asthma to ADD, ADHD to cancers.
This health issue matters to me because I know that there is no way for my family, neighbors young and old, and pets, to avoid exposure as these lawn care chemicals are applied often and not even in the place where signs are posted to warn of their application. Ever wondered why those signs are applied in the first place?
I’ve been working on this issue for the past six years now, four of them in my neighborhood, successfully advocating for my local homeowner association to consider and try alternative organic lawn care practices so as to reduce exposure to the lawn care chemicals. For the past two years I’ve worked on getting Bill 52-14 to come together and become a law along with my colleagues.
If Bill 52-14 passes October 6th, 2015, Montgomery County, MD will be the first county in the US to pass a bill that curbs the use of lawn care pesticides due to health concerns in public property including parks, playing fields, tot lots as well as private property.
This experience has taught me that individuals that work together on issues that concern them can and do make a difference, at least at the local level.
Please ask your Councilmembers to vote for a strong Bill 52-14.
You won’t regret it!
Alex Stavitsky-Zeineddin, member of Safe Grow Montgomery