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

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Support the Massachusetts Schoolchildren Pesticide Protection Act, HD. 458

Filed by Representative Carmine Gentile

Does your child’s school use pesticides on it’s gardens, playgrounds and athletic fields? Did you know that many Massachusetts schools and child care centers permit the use of an arsenal of toxic pesticides on outdoor grounds, including glyphosate and 2,4-D, potentially endangering children’s health.  

Children are especially vulnerable to toxic pesticides.

  • Children absorb more pesticides relative to their body weight than adults.
  • Children’s organ systems are still developing and are less able to detoxify harmful chemicals.
  • In 2012 the  American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) called for governments  to reduce children’s exposure to pesticides writing that scientific evidence “demonstrates associations between early life exposure to pesticides and pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function, and behavioral problems.”

Learn more about children and pesticides HERE


The Massachusetts Schoolchildren Pesticide Protection Act

Under this proposed law, only pesticides considered minimum risk by the U.S. EPA and those permitted for organic use will be allowed near schools and child care centers in Massachusetts, except in the case of a health emergency when school officials could apply for a waiver. In 2010 NY passed a similar law as did CT in 2015.

If you are a parent, grandparent, teacher, school committee member, city or town official, or just a concerned citizen -- we need you!

Please use this action page (click the red "START WRITING" button in the righthand column) to send a message to your state legislators in support of HD.458, “An Act Relative to Improving Pesticide Protections for Massachusetts School Children Take a few seconds to write to your legislators asking them cosponsor this bill to protect schoolchildren from toxic pesticides! (If they have already co-sponsored, thank them.)

Please write by May 1st. (And again later to check in on progress!)

Note: This form will provide you with some talking points and you can find many more below.  After you send an email through this form, maximize your impact by calling their office.


Seeking organizational endorsements

Organizational Endorsement Form

Ask your organization/s to endorse the bill. Support from school committees, parent groups, teachers’ unions and other advocacy groups is critical. This is a big way to boost the campaign.

Please add your organization here.

If you have a suggestion and want help reaching out to an organization you know of submit your information and the name of the organization, here.

Current organizational endorsers include (as of 3/11/21): Berkshire Environmental Action Team, Berkshire Grown, Beyond Pesticides, Bionutrient Food Association, Boston Organics, Community Action Works, Climate Action Now Western Mass., Concerned Citizens of Franklin County, Conservation Law Foundation, Earthjustice, Extinction Rebellion Western Mass., Gardening the Community (Springfield), Global Environmental Options, Great Barrington Agricultural Commission, GreenCAPE, Island Grown Initiative, Marion Institute, Massachusetts Sierra Club, MASSPIRG, Plainfield Agricultural Commissio, POCCA Cape Cod, Regeneration Massachusetts, Savvy Women's Alliance, Sustainable Shrewsbury Citizens Network


More background and potential talking points:

Public Hearing on Pesticides Bills, Nov. 12, 2019


On November 12, 2019, legislators heard five hours of passionate testimony from a hearing room packed with advocates concerned about pesticides (pictured above). 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!

Update February 2021: The bill has been refiled for the 2021-22 legislative session, so that means we need to get cosponsors and there'll be another public hearing. Due to the pandemic, many important and popular bills stalled. We're picking it up now as momentum only grows!

⧫  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.


You can read the full bill (it’s very short) and see the existing legislative cosponsors, here: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/192/HD458


Now is the time to pass HD.458, “An Act Relative to Improving Pesticide Protections for Massachusetts School Children,” filed by Representative Carmine Gentile (2021).


Similar to legislation passed in New York state in 2010 and Connecticut in 2015, this bill 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 HD.458  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.


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: openstates.org



*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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