County passes landmark legislation
Pesticides bug me, and it looks like I am not alone. On April 11, Cuyahoga County Council passed a comprehensive ordinance banning pesticides on all county-owned properties. Because pesticides are toxic chemicals that are ubiquitous in our environment, the decision to reduce this burden is heroic. Councilmembers Julian Rogers (Cleveland Heights) and Sunny Simon (South Euclid) spearheaded the effort.
Their leadership serves as an example to other Ohio officials that public health is always a priority and that safer pest and land management can work. Of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides, 19 are linked to cancer, 15 are linked to birth defects, 15 to neurotoxicity and 11 to endocrine system disruption. Last year, for the sake of children’s health, New York and Connecticut banned pesticides from all school grounds and playing fields. For the same reason, Cleveland Heights banned pesticides on all city, school, library and daycare center grounds. Recent reports from Cornell and Harvard universities demonstrate that transitioning to organic lawn-care practices saves money and produces healthier, disease-resistant turf when compared to chemical-based programs.
Beyond Pesticides Ohio is helping Greater Cleveland school districts and cities adopt safe and affordable natural turf care policies, and is co-hosting Healthier, Cleaner, Greener Schools and Facilities, a forum at the Cleveland Botanical Garden (CBG) on Friday, June 15, 8 a.m. to noon. Speakers include Sunny Simon, Julian Rogers and a keynote speaker who will explain how he saves $250,000 per year by using green cleaning products and organic turf care at his school district. For more information or to register, call CBG at 216-721-1600, ext. 100 or visit www.cbgarden.org.
Barry Zucker is executive director of Beyond Pesticides Ohio.