Pesticides under fire on airwaves and in legislature

7:24 PM, Apr 7, 2011   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Some people in the lawn care industry feel like they are under fire.  The legislature is hearing 5 different bills on the use of pesticides.   And many lawn care professionals are taking issue with the latest installment in the "Rubber Ducky" campaign from the partnership called "Think Blue Maine."

The ad shows the signature rubber ducks, which represent the chemicals put on lawns, but into devil ducks.

The DEP, which is a partner in the coalition, says  it is aimed at educating people, reminding them that  what you put on your lawn goes into our oceans, lakes, and rivers.

But some in the lawn care industry feel like the ad demonizes their profession.

Deven Morrill of Lucas Tree Experts says pesticide isn't a dirty word.   He says there are positive and safe uses for pesticides.   He admits some people have misused them  in the past, and in the industry as a whole is now paying the price.

This isn't the only attack Morrill is fighting. He and many others in his industry were in Augusta today for hearings on 5 different bills dealing with pesticide use.

The biggest being LD 837.  It would do what 3 other states, and 2 Canadian provinces have already done: ban pesticides at schools and day care centers.

The Natural Resources Council of Maine is among those  supporting that bill.  Matt Prindiville says it is common sense legislation that puts the safety of children above the poisoning of dandelions.

You won't find pesticides on the school fields in Camden. The town is one of several in Maine that has banned them.

Marsha Smith and her group Citizens for a Green Camden brought up the issue there and now wants to see it go statewide.

She says research links  childhood leukemia, brain tumors, and ADHD to pesticide exposure.  She believes if people read the research available, we would not allow pesticides to be used anywhere.

Deven Morrill says the bill isn't a bad one, but says  there are already restrictions on the books that make any use of pesticides at schools a last resort.  He adds that many lawn care companies offer both  chemical and organic treatments, and are happy to answer any question customers might have.

He also says if people don't want to hire a professional to apply fertilizers and pesticides for them, they should be sure they read the label and apply only the amount suggested.

Many in the industry worry that if that ban at schools and day cares passes, more expansive bans will follow.

As far as the ad, the DEP says there is no plan to pull it, and it stands behind the science on which it is based.


Most Watched Videos