February 26 2014
Consequences of Misguided No-Pesticides-in-Schools Law
Connecticut lawmakers are considering granting schools an exemption to a dumb state law that bans the use of synthetic pesticides on school properties. WNPRNEWS reports:
For years, towns like Cheshire and Branford have been pesticide-free, treating their municipal fields with only organic products. But some school officials argue if groundskeepers can't use certain EPA-approved synthetic fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides (which are banned under current state law), they can't keep fields safe for play or control certain pests. And one pest has become a particular concern: grubs, which tear up fields and attract birds.
This is yet another example of the adverse effects of misguided laws that ban chemical technologies without considering why these products exist in the first place. Communities lose critically important public health benefits associated with these products when policymakers ban them because of misinformed political hype about risk. In this case, rather than fix the problem they created for Connecticut schools, they are considering an exception to address one particular pest. But what about other pest -related problems? When the rats are out of control in school halls or when wasps, fire ants, and poison Ivy take over playgrounds, are school officials going to have to beg for exemptions one by one?
Why not let school officials and local communities decide what works for them and what doesn't? Clearly, children will be the ones who suffer while state lawmakers debate each pest problem at a time.