Protesters Call for Statewide Ban of Toxic Pesticides at Huntington Rally
A small group huddled in a parking lot for RiteAid and Wild by Nature in downtown Huntington Thursday afternoon. Many had colorful “ban toxic pesticides” signs around their necks. Three were in complete HazMat chemical suits.
This group was demonstrating to raise awareness about the toxic pesticides that are used on many people’s lawns and also to garner signatures for a petition calling for the banning of all toxic pesticides and fertilizers in Suffolk County and throughout the rest of the state. MillionsOfVoters.org put together the event and was assisted by the Neighbor Network, a group responsible for bills banning pesticide use on school grounds and requiring neighbor notification before pesticide use.
“These toxic pesticides and fertilizers used on front lawns cause birth defects and cancer. Why are they still used? It all boils down to dollars and cents. The pesticide companies are worth billions and billions of dollars,” Jerry Balsam, a MillionsOfVoters.org member explained.
“We chose this location, because we thought that the people who shop at Wild by Nature would be most likely sign our petition,” MillionsOfVoters.org President Dennis Glassberg said. “We are currently in the process of forming coalitions with many environmental, animal right groups and cancer, autism, organizations throughout Long Island and the State.”
Local organic businesses were also on hand to support. Eric Pomisel owns Gro-Kind Organics Inc., an organic landscaping company in Nesconset. According to Pomisel, 80 percent of his new customers are people who have moved here from New York City. He had started out as a regular landscaper in 1989, but switched over to organic in 1991 after pesticide blew into his face and he realized the severity of the toxins. “I live here. I was planning on staying and I care about where I live,” he explained.
The demonstrators are optimistic about the future. “We’re starting this in the winter so when the time comes to approach legislators in June we will have built up some steam.” Demosthenes Maratos, membership coordinator of the Neighborhood Network said.
Glassberg is not taking no for an answer. “We will continue to protest and demonstrate until such a law is passed in New York State, even if it takes two years.”