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Legislation that will protect children in schools and daycare centers

posted May 5, 2010, 12:33 PM by Nancy Swan   [ updated Jul 29, 2011, 6:56 PM by Thomas Swan ]

I received this news release from Claire Barnett, MBA, Executive Director Healthy Schools Network, Inc.

For Immediate Release                `                                             

For further information, contact: 518-462-0632 for Healthy Schools Network or 518-455-4804 or 631-751-3094 for Assemblyman Englebright


Englebright urges Governor to approve the bill quickly


                Assemblymember Steven Englebright (D, Setauket) today announced passage of his bill A 7937-C that would prohibit the use of toxic pesticides on school and daycare center playgrounds, turf, athletic and playing fields and called upon the Governor to sign the bill as quickly as possible. 


                Englebright stated “For nine years we have been working to eliminate the unnecessary use of these dangerous poisons in outdoor settings to protect our children from exposure to carcinogens, neurotoxins and other dangerous chemicals!  The bill’s passage represents a triumph of children’s health interests over the corporate interests that continue to promote unnecessary pesticide use.”  


                Assemblymember Englebright continued “This is a historic moment – the passage of the bill by the Assembly and the Senate will provide long-awaited protections for our children in settings where they spend up to half of their young lives.  The Governor can now make this happen with a stroke of his pen.”  


                Assemblymember Englebright applauded Senator Brian Foley ( D, Blue Point)                   for his successful efforts at passing the bill in the Senate.  Englebright noted “Senator Foley’s leadership in the Senate has made the possibility of this bill becoming law a reality.”


                Senator Brian Foley said “I am proud to sponsor this major legislation the lead the fight to protect our children from harm.  Foley, who has championed environmental causes throughout his career in public service continued “Given the potential harm that pesticides present for our children during crucial developmental states and the availability of cost-effective alternatives, it is simply unacceptable to continue to use pesticides to care for fields and playgrounds where our children spend hours playing.  I congratulate Assemblyman Englebright for passing the bill in the Assembly and urge Governor Paterson to sign it into law as soon as possible.”


                Assemblymember Englebright also commended Assemblymember Robert Sweeney (D, Lindenhurst), Chair of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee for his active and forceful support of the bill. 


                Assemblymember Sweeney stated “Children are more sensitive to and are at an increased risk from pesticide exposure. Environmental links have been established for many illnesses and research is continuing to provide new evidence each day.  Limiting children’s exposure to pesticides is a practical and reasonable precautionary measure.”


Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, Pediatrics Professor and Director of the Children’s Environmental Health Center at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine stated “The thousands of pounds of synthetic chemical pesticides that are applied every day on lawns, parks, gardens, golf courses and schoolyards across New York State for purely cosmetic purposes include cancer-causing chemicals, chemicals that are toxic to the brain and nervous system, chemicals that can interfere with endocrine function and chemicals that can disrupt the early development of unborn children in their mothers’ wombs.  Cosmetic application of these toxic chemicals results in airborne drift exposures in nearby communities, exposure of children who play on treated fields and contamination of groundwater.  By reducing exposure to New Yorkers, particularly children and pregnant women, this bill will prevent disease, disability and premature deaths and will save millions of dollars in healthy care costs each year.” 


                Steven Boese, Executive Director of the Learning Disabilities Association of NYS said “Children are especially vulnerable to harmful pesticides, many of which are known to cause learning and other developmental disabilities.  Further restricting non-essential use of pesticides at schools is a good public health initiative, and a cost saver  as well.  The Learning Disabilities Assn. of NYS greatly appreciates Assemblyman Englebright’s and Senator Foley’s commitment and concern in promoting this common sense legislation.”


                Claire Barnett, Executive Director, Healthy Schools Network stated “This timely law will actually save schools thousands of dollars in unnecessary herbicide applications while preventing harm h to children who use playgrounds and playing fields. We congratulate Assemblyman Engelbright and Senator Foley for their leadership and urge Governor Paterson to sign this bill as another way to support environmental reforms that save money.  Importantly, we also urge the state to conduct an interagency campaign to education school decision-makers and communities on safer choices.”


                Laura Haight, Sr. Environmental Associate with the NY Public Interest Research Group said “This legislation will keep poisons off of children’s playing fields.  We applaud Assemblymember Englebright and Senator Foley for their leadership, and urge Governor Paterson to sign this measure into law as soon as possible.  It’s a win-win for the environment and for children’s health1”


                Patti Wood, Executive Director of Grassroots Environmental Education stated “Putting forth bold child-protective legislation requires a special kind of leadership.  We commend Assemblyman Englebright for his vision and his courage in bringing this issue forward, and working tirelessly to help to ensure its success.  As with my environmental issues, the legislation will impact no only the health of the State’s youngest citizens, but our drinking water quality and fragile environment as well.  We look forward to helping to implement this historic legislation by working with the State and all stakeholders to train school personnel in the science of non-pesticide turf management.”


                The bill contains provisions for the use of pesticides in emergency situations with the approval of local health departments or the schools district (in the case of a public school).  The bill also specifies certain low-toxicity pesticides that are exempt from the prohibition.              

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Claire L. Barnett, MBA, Executive Director

Healthy Schools Network, Inc. - celebrating 15 years 1995-2010



Coordinator, National Coalition for Healthier Schools

Mobile: 202-543-7555