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May 3, 2012

Our Opinion: Put an end to the chemicals

— The use of chemical herbicides and pesticides was the main topic at a meeting of the village’s environmental conservation committee meeting Tuesday morning.

By the end of the meeting, the committee had crafted a recommendation to the board of trustees that all chemical herbicide and pesticide use on village property be halted.

Primarily at issue is the use of the herbicide Roundup and a fungicide on Doubleday Field. Groundskeeper Joe Harris told the Doubleday Field committee those are the only chemical he uses. His fertilizer choice is organic.

The committee that oversees the field is headed in the right direction and is looking at transitioning away from the use of chemicals.

We, too, believe it is time to once and for all get rid of the chemicals.

There is more and more evidence that chemical herbicides and pesticides pose a serious health threat.

 During the meeting Tuesday, Pine Boulevard resident Sam Wilcox brought up the New York State Child Safe Playing Field Act that went into effect a year ago. The act prohibits the use of turf management chemicals on school properties and playing fields.

“The Legislature deemed it was not safe for the welfare and health of children to spray the grounds,” he said, adding that the committee should employ the precautionary principle and seek a ban.

We agree. The board of trustees should come to the same realization and prohibit its use on village property.

And we would like to see such a ban extended to prohibit the use of those weed killing chemicals anywhere in the village.

At least Joe Harris is a DEC-certified applicator he should be aware of and take safety precautions when using the material. On the other hand, homeowners who buy a product like Roundup to kill weeds in their lawn, garden, sidewalk or driveway are not certified applicators and may or may not read and heed the instructions and warnings. Unless they are careful, they could easily put themselves, their family, the neighbors, pets and the environment at risk.