The Star-Ledger – NJ.com – Nic Corbett
Jennifer Brown/The Star-LedgerA bill being considered by a Senate committee would ban pesticides on school grounds.
TRENTON — The State Senate Environment and Energy Committee will hear testimony today on a bill that would ban pesticides from use on school grounds in New Jersey.
The Safe Playing Fields Act, introduced in mid-January by Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Mercer), is advocated for by groups such as Safe Lawns Montclair. Members of the group say exposure to lawn care pesticides is linked to arthma, cancer, learning disorders, autism, birth defects and
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Under the bill, pesticides would only be allowed in emergencies to eliminate “an immediate threat to human health.” For day care centers, the bill would allow pesticides only outside regular business hours, with children restricted from treated areas for at least seven hours after application.
Karen Reardon, a spokeswoman for Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE), a national trade association of pesticide and fertilizer manufacturers, formulators and distributors, said such a law is unnecessary.
Professionals use these products, which are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, because they are effective at eliminating allergy-causing weeds, stinging insects and ticks in forested areas near parks — which can also harm children’s health, she said.
“It’s important to note these are valuable tools in the tool box of those folks,” she said, “and their activities are protective of kids.”
The State Senate Environment and Energy Committee advanced a bill Monday that would ban pesticides from use on school grounds in New Jersey.