Thursday, February 24, 2011

How did HB0495 Committee Meeting on Feb. 22, 2011 go?

Check out some research and other reasons for New Hampshire House Bill-495 Healthy Lawns, Healthy Kids

Well I took notes just for you. Well, for the children. Actually, for further research.

Let me first tell you what this meeting wasn't.  It wasn't an insane mash of hippies trying to speak over big industry goons. 
It was a well gathered group of concerned and knowledgeable representatives, parents, landscapers and master gardeners, some individuals who have been affected by pesticides and those who formally sprayed pesticides and have now weighed warnings.  As well as, representatives of NHCAN, RISE, the US EPA, and the Pesticide Control Board.

Bayer and many others were not there with lawyers this year. Does this say they aren’t concerned or they have no fight here? Maybe they missed the fact this is a new year and a new law.
Below is what I took notes on while I listened, to nervous to add a word myself. What I would like to know is: where were you? All of you parents and caretakers, daycare center owners and workers, what happened? Do you know what is going on? Are you going to be surprised when a bill passes that affects our children’s lives?  Are others saving your children’s intellect and health for you? Just kidding.  Everybody needs a hand raising children.

A master gardener relayed that while studying the tremendous hours it takes to be a master gardener is was stressed that pesticide labels should be read.  Read before you buy, read before use and read before storing. As well as not to mix chemicals and not use in the same container as other until properly cleaned.  She said that although this was being told to gardeners who are usually in the dirt, the message was made heard.

From the Director of the Pesticide Control Board- has a NH partners for healthy schools program. This director stated how he is indebted to protect the environment – (raising a comment from the sidelines).  He goes on to holds up massive books about pesticide use and regulation and then tiny pamphlets about organics.
    Also presents a survey that is sent to schools asking of their current use of pesticides. He mentions how pesticides are “Heavily regulated.”
So one representative asks – so with all the regulations, wouldn’t it just be easier not to use these?   The director replies how pests work in a cycles of 2-5 years

Two representatives suggest IPM be improved, “have more teeth” a list of actions possible, more options, questions asked before pesticide use - what did you try? And to only use chemicals in dire consequences, further asking the director of pesticide control board for more rigor of application and enforcement of IPM.

A man from Harvard and serving on the scientific advisory panel at the EPA gave an exceptional testimony.
He explains that the EPA is phasing out pesticides one after another due to health effects on children.  The EPA says if there is an alternative, use it.
   Once organophosphates are put down, so close to toddlers, residues are on carpets and walls are there so long that children are exposed.  40% of kids, 4 out of 10, have mobility problems whether nuero, asthma, birth defects, adding in cancer is 50% of children having health difficulties.
    The shortcoming of research on disease and exposure is that cause and effect separate widely in terms of how long it takes for many diseases to present themselves. However he states how the disease and pesticides use curves are parallel.
    Pesticide use is not followed up and not responsible.  He went on to tell a story of two healthy girls playing soccer that had to be rushed to the emergency room.  One having seizures, both serious enough to be kept overnight. Experts were called to find out why something like this would happen to these healthy girls.  Come to find blue dye on their soccer socks that would be an additive to pesticides being put down.
    He touches on the fact that weeds are resistant to roundup, grower taller than us.
He uses an example of a “Risk cup” saying you do not want your risk cup to be filled even 40% and you definitely do not want to fill your cup or there will be negative health consequences. Pesticide residues in our food fill up 80% of our risk cup.  !!!!
NH HB0495 will control so called unnecessary pesticides.
NH will take leadership.
As well, he promised to push the EPA to start a pier review federal government funded study, to find out if it does decrease children’s exposure to pesticides if the law passes.  And the EPA does have ways of accounting for residues from other places. 

We really have a chance here to lower our children’s exposure and prove it.

Also, this study could create a few years worth of jobs for NH.
  Almost all are being phased out but are important in agriculture.  They are also important as a backup for serious health concerns and if we use too much we will not be able to use them then.  Africa overused pyrethroids so much that mosquitoes are resistant now and they must use DDT on a local scale. 

The biggest threat to health this day and age is environmentally mediated diseases.
This is the first generation expected to have shorter life spans than their parents

According to the EPA – no pesticide can be considered safe even when used as directed
There are 100+ studies on canine lymphoma similar to the human version Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma related to pesticides.
Merit an insecticide used for control of white grubs and other insects in lawns and landscaping is a human neurotoxin and linked to bee colony collapse.

Attention is brought about the studies that deam pesticides safe and those finding health concerns. Industry funded vs. University funded.  Which has bias?

Many questions arose as to how it is possible to have organic alternatives just as effective.
How can we have an organic soccer field with a bug barrier? Answer – good soil biology.
Chemicals destroy soil biology and it takes time to build healthy soil.
Fields where less chemical intensive program was used can be turned around in less than a year.  Soil compaction is grasses worst enemy – aeration and over-seeding rather than 4 step water soluble pesticide treatment i.e. pesticide & antibiotic.

Associate Director of Grass Roots which offers natural turf and training programs.
He declares that NY passed legislation prohibiting school fields from using pesticides and has been pesticide free for a year.  The switch was even easy for middle class school districts with no extra cost.

“Facts are stubborn things” John Adams

First products destroy nature then you must feed it.  The cost of pesticide products go up with oil.
We do not need to help nature grow grass- nature knows how to grow grass.
Many landscapers have recently grown up in a “Chemical centric” time and forgot old values.  A fantastic image was explained of the day when a woman held a toddler smoking a cigarette and a cocktail in the other hand, and the pesticide truck pulls up to spray the lawn which she immediately walks out onto.
Grass Roots offers a 1 day intensive course for FREE and has trained 500 professionals from those interested to true skeptics.
   What happens in farming without pesticides when a pest arrives?  Well basically farms have lost diversity but normally, say the pumpkin crop gets a fungus, you would till it under but still have more crops.
   There is No pest problem we can’t manage organically. If you have crabgrass, you can bet a soil test would show soil PH at 6 not 7.  Soil biology is war: good bugs eating bad bugs.  The last resort of chemical pesticides in IPM ruins all improvement of soil – killing organisms.  Soil science is the fastest growing in the green industry.

A represents of citizens on the pesticide control board says that local folks should be involved and say what they would like to see.  It is a waste of money and time for chemicals that are not needed

NHCAN – (New Hampshire Child Advocacy Network) representative praises NH’s libertarianism, refusing helmets on motorcycles and seatbelts in cars but points out when it came to protecting children we pass law requiring children to wear seatbelts and helmets.
    NHCAN puts out a priority brochure – it takes 6 months to develop these concerns and they are evidence based priorities.  HB0495 is their top priority right now.

From a representative of JP Pest Services – a pesticide is any material to control bugs and this HB0495 enacts a moratorium, moratorium, moratorium on all pesticides is what he repeated.  He went on to try to attack the House Bill - Section 7 he says, redefines IPM.
IPM is an integrated group of tools (including pesticides)
*What is interesting is that the issue of the definition of IPM was brought up in last year’s committee to show that every company, including the EPA has a different definition.
Section 3 he continues - shall address grounds of schools and may address indoor – maybe he is worried because this company provides indoor school pesticide management or maybe because JP is a chemical supplier?  Call this company’s number and you receive a message asking if you want pest services or…
    He mentions where the industry was and where it is now – organophosphates to now using chemicals that can specifically target termites not other organisms.  Yet when I spoke with him outside he seemed completely against banning any type of pesticide, even those which he claims his company does not use anymore.

Lawyer for the leah collective addresses the bill and assures reps that the bill does not affect golf course or residences.  It is a gradual ban of pesticide and schools are giving ample time to come aboard. As well she addresses a former concern of the pesticide control board director and says an amendment for invasive species should be added.

Someone points out that big industry probably already owns their own organic companies and is just waiting for the public demand.

RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) representatives agrees that – if there is a market that corporations will want to fill it- He says companies they are working with EPA on safer/cost effective products.
-not interested in killing customers
Products are assured to cause no undue harm to health and environment
He explains IPM as “prevent manage control” and then “prevent maintenance control”
Chemicals are a tool in the toolbox- but we need judicious use of chemicals
My favorite quote from him was “our products control asthma and allergies” apparently he hasn’t read the studies.
He also says that pesticides go through “Risk benefit analysis” from the EPA – the EPA decides when it is ready for market “8-10years from lab to shelf” Also that the studies to register these pesticides go through 100 pier reviewed tests which “looks at any potential risk of product”.   The representative from the EPA advisory panel provides testimony after to assure us that there is actually no such thing as risk-benefit-analysis and pesticide testing is NOT pier reviewed.  But not before RISE explains
“pesticides by nature have to be used” and that manufacturers “look at exposure… cradle to grave” and that there is “reasonable assurance they can be used without undue precedence”  Well, I do not know how he can say pesticides are studied from cradle to grave since data on active ingredients is based on a lethal dose (LD) of a short term reaction on a 160 lb healthy male. 

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