New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Ban the Use of Toxic Pesticides In New York City's Parks and Open Spaces

New York, NY— Pesticides in parks would be limited by a bill introduced by Council Member Ben Kallos among members of the kindergarten and first grade class at PS 290, who first advocated for the city legislation. The law, co-sponsored by Council Member Helen Rosenthal, would require that the city use only biological pesticides, derived from natural materials, instead of synthetic, traditional pesticides--except under necessary circumstances. The EPA maintains that biological pesticides tend to be less toxic and safer than synthetic pesticides. The bill will be introduced on May 27.

In addition to often being less toxic, biopesticides are often more narrowly targeted to eliminate the desired pest, rather than affecting a broad range of organisms. According to the EPA, they are also often effective in small amounts and quickly decompose, making less of an environmental impact than synthetic pesticides. 

The City’s most heavily used liquid herbicide is Roundup, which they sprayed 1,365 times in 2013, according to a Health Department Report. Studies have indicated that Roundup is particularly harmful to childrens’ health, and the EPA moved this month to limit Roundup because it creates resistant weeds. Chicago has reduced pesticide use dramatically, and now 90% of its parks are pesticide-free.

Council Member Kallos was first inspired to limit damaging pesticides in City parks after hearing from the students at PS 290, who expressed concerns over the toxicity and health effects on both humans and animals.

 

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