Ban Glyphosate (and other toxic pesticides) from Playgrounds and Schools


Many landscaping plans now in effect for school grounds in Massachusetts permit the outdoor use pesticides that are hazardous to children’s developing bodies and organ systems. Proposed state legislation would update the list of pesticides allowed to be applied near schools and child care centers in Massachusetts to only include pesticides considered “minimum risk” by the EPA or certified organic.

Please use this action page to send a message to your state legislators in support of H.791, “An Act Relative to Improving Pesticide Protections for Massachusetts School Children

Please write TODAY to save these bills from dying on February 5th!

Unless these bills are passed by the Agriculture committee by February 5th, we’ll have to start the whole two year legislative process over next year…

On November 12, 2019, legislators heard five hours of passionate testimony from a hearing room packed with advocates concerned about pesticides. Over 100 parents, teachers, beekeepers, farmers, landscapers, pediatricians and academics attended the hearing to send a strong message to legislators: it’s time to reduce pesticides use in Massachusetts!

Please add your voice by sending an email to legislators asking them to ban glyphosate (Monsanto’s Roundup) from being sprayed where children learn and play and to restore power to local municipalities to control pesticide use.

Did you know?

⧫  The outdoor use of toxic pesticides like glyphosate and 2,4-D is currently permitted to be sprayed at schools and child care centers in Massachusetts in order “to maintain quality appearance” or (ironically), under the guise of student “safety.”

⧫  Children take in more pesticides relative to their body weight than adults and have developing organ systems that are more vulnerable and less able to detoxify harmful chemicals.

⧫  In 2012 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) called for governments to reduce children’s exposure to pesticides. AAP wrote that scientific evidence “…demonstrates associations between early life exposure to pesticides and pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function, and behavioral problems.”

⧫  Young infants and toddlers exposed to herbicides within their first year of life are 4.5 times more likely to develop asthma by the age of five, and almost 2.5 times more likely when exposed to insecticides.

⧫ Children with elevated levels of commonly used pyrethroid insecticides, often applied to manage ants and other common schoolyard pests, are more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems. Boys with detectable urinary 3-PBA, a biomarker of exposure to pyrethroids, are three times as likely to have ADHD compared with those without detectable 3-PBA.

⧫  Of the 30 most commonly used lawn pesticides, 16 are possible and/or known carcinogens, 17 have the potential to disrupt the endocrine (hormonal) system, 21 are linked to reproductive effects and sexual dysfunction, 12 have been linked to birth defects, 14 are neurotoxic, 25 can cause kidney or liver damage, and 26 are sensitizers and/or irritants.

It’s time to pass H.791, “An Act Relative to Improving Pesticide Protections for Massachusetts School Children,” filed by Representative Carmine Gentile (2019).

Similar to legislation passed in New York state in 2010 and Connecticut in 2015, H.791 brings the list of pesticides eligible for outdoor use around schools in line with the latest science on the dangers pesticides pose to children.

Eligible products under H.791 would be limited to those that are considered minimum risk by EPA, or certified organic. These are the least-toxic, yet still effective, pest management products on the market, ensuring that children are not exposed to chronic poisons where they learn.

Minimum risk pesticides are of a characteristic having such low toxicity that products containing these substances can make pesticidal claims without going through the formal EPA registration process.

Organic products undergo another level of review as part of the organic certification process by an independent board of experts at the National Organic Standards Board, further considering health and safety.

This legislation still leaves groundskeepers with a wide range of “tools in the toolbox” to be used as part of an IPM (Integrated Pest Management) plan and In the event of a human health emergency, school officials or child care operators may still file for a pesticide waiver.

Update: Another bill would return power to cities/towns to ban pesticides!

If the state won't move to protect pollinators (and people) from pesticides, local governments should have the right to step in! However, under 1978 Mass. Pesticide Control Act, local town/city governments don't have the right to ban harmful pesticides, event if their own Board of Health calls for it.

Rep. Dylan Fernandes andSen. Julian Cyr have introduced two identical "Local Option" bills which would return Power to The People to protect their families, friends (including non-human pollinators!), food and water from pesticide exposure (S.447/H.776 "An Act empowering towns and cities to protect residents and the environment from harmful pesticides").

With the approval of municipality's Board of Health, a city or town government would be able to "restrict or prohibit the use and application or disposal of pesticides within the city or town that are more stringent than the standards and restrictions [adopted by the state]."

Please let your legislators know that you support their bold leadership on pesticides and urge them to pass these bills. Encourage them to stand up to the chemical industry lobbyists and take action to protect our children. Please take action and share this page far and wide so that legislators know this is an important bill to pass this session!

Note: Personal phone calls are worth 100X more than emails. We strongly encourage supporters to call their legislators directly about these bills after sending an email. You can look up their names and phone numbers, here:

*Special thanks to Beyond Pesticides and the office of Representative Carmine Gentile for providing facts and references for this action page.

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