Raise awareness of environmental health issues in order to better protect our children and future generations.

EMF Studies

30 July 2016

United States: Pesticide Use on Golf Courses, Lawns, Farmlands, School Yards...

"Weeds laughing at your herbicide?".  A billboard in
Denison, Iowa on June 21, promotes herbicide use,  Acuron
has 4 active herbicide ingredients...
The Environmental Health News letter of 27 July 2016 included three stories from local newspapers about the ubiquitous use of pesticides on farmlands, golf courses, private lawns, school yards in New York State and Iowa and the health effects these are causing to people. In Europe, there is a move to ban glyphosate, the toxic substance classified in 2015 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as "probably carcinogenic" (2A), one level below "carcinogenic".  Back in the U.S., it is alarming to see so much cancer among people exposed to these pesticides.  On Long Island, where our family lived for many years, golf courses and lawns have been and continue to be - drenched in pesticides, seeping into the water supply and permeating the air with a strong chemical stench. Will this genocide ever stop?!  According to one of the articles, "trade groups for pesticides spent $46.5 million on lobbying to shape food safety, environmental laws" and "golf-related groups spent $1.5 million on lobbying tied to environment and pesticides."  (Ref: "Golf courses and chemical companies target environmental laws").  Following are extracts from the other two articles.

Growing health concerns surrounding pesticides, including two commonly used in Iowa
by Lauren Mills/IowaWatch.org, investigatemidwest.org, 22 July 2016

Some farmers applying pesticides to fields this summer might ignore symptoms of being exposed to the chemicals, like headaches or nausea. But mounting evidence shows chronic exposure to pesticides may increase risks for certain cancers, like prostate cancer, and for other chronic illnesses, like Parkinson’s and thyroid disease.

Two herbicides commonly used in Iowa — atrazine and glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup — have come under scrutiny for potential human health and environmental dangers and are in the midst of a contentious U.S. Environmental Protection Agency re-registration process.

Pesticides play an important role in many farming operations because of their ability to protect crops from yield-crushing invasions of insects, weeds and disease.

Human health concerns aren’t limited to people working in agricultural areas. Communities in Iowa have taken steps to reduce kids’ exposures by reducing or banning use of pesticides within school grounds and in parks, citing research that shows associations with childhood cancers and cognitive and behavioral issues.


Although pesticide exposure is highest for those working in agriculture, pesticides also are used in public parks, golf courses, schools and private lawns.

“You see people in their flip-flops in their garage driveway spraying the little cracks or in their lawn when they see a weed. In general, I don’t think people think much of the dangers of pesticides,” said Kamyar Enshayan, director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Education at the University of Northern Iowa.

Efforts to decrease pesticide uses in public areas have seen an uptick in Iowa.

The Iowa City Community School District banned pesticide use in the fall of 2015, before approving a pest management plan earlier this year that requires district officials to use the least hazardous control methods to deal with weeds and pests. This spring, the Dubuque City Council banned pesticides at nine public parks.

These efforts mirror those taken in other states across the country. In 2011, a New York law went into effect that largely bans pesticide use on playgrounds and athletic or playing fields at schools and day care centers. Pesticides are allowed to be used inside schools and centers. Connecticut has a similar ban for lawn care pesticides at K-8 schools and day care centers.


Rich Walsh and his father, Thomas
A "high-profile lawsuit was filed by Rich Walsh. His father, Thomas, died of leukemia at 56 years old in 2009, after working on Pennsylvania golf courses for more than 30 years... “They took my dad away and a 30-year-old shouldn’t lose a dad, and he didn’t get to see me get married or either one of my two daughters born,” Walsh said...  The chemical companies... have denied that pesticides caused the death, and refuted testimony of scientific and medical experts testifying that the chemicals killed Thomas Walsh... Companies involved in the lawsuit include Bayer, BASF, Dow, John Deere Company (Lesco), Monsanto, and Syngenta, along with distributors selling the 44 different pesticides named in the complaint...  Below is the article relating to this story.

Pesticides threaten golf courses, homes in NY
by David Robinson, drobinson@lohud.com8:50 a.m. EDT July 28, 2016

...Among the findings by The Journal News/lohud.com are:

  • Gaps in oversight of millions of pounds of toxic pesticides applied at homes, businesses and golf courses in the Lower Hudson Valley.
  • Pesticides' health risks are heightened in Westchester and Rockland counties. They are among just six of 62 counties in New York that applied more than 1 million pounds of pesticides in 2010, the most recent state data available.
  • There have been significant flaws in pesticide data collected over the past decade from golf courses, farmers, landscapers and pest-control companies in New York.
  • Authorities failed to catch the potentially illegal sale of an unregistered pesticide at Rye Golf Club, and golf courses in other states, according to the exclusive probe of the chemical industry’s underbelly.

Out of 62 counties, Westchester ranked third-highest in pesticide use, at 2.26 million pounds in 2010. Rockland was sixth-highest, at about 1 million. They are also among the highest pesticide-users in terms of gallons of product, the data show.

All of the highest-use counties were golf-course dense, with Suffolk on Long Island topping the list at 5 million pounds. Monroe County, which includes the city of Rochester, ranked second at 2.82 million.

The top six counties used nearly 14 million pounds of pesticides, more than half the 24.5 million total statewide in 2010.


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