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TRENTON - Legislation sponsored by Senators Shirley K. Turner and Bob Gordon that would protect New Jersey's children from the harmful effects of pesticides was unanimously approved today by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.
"Playgrounds and school yards should be safe places for our children to play and enjoy their childhood, but instead of providing a protected space, we are spraying these lawns with toxins that can have lasting effects on our children's health and wellbeing," said Senator Turner, D-Mercer and Hunterdon. "Using safe, low-cost alternative treatments, we can keep our children healthy while also keeping our lawns aesthetically attractive. By banning pesticides from our smallest of children's play spaces, we can ensure that their health is our paramount concern."
The "Safe Playing Fields Act," S-1143, would prohibit the use of lawn care pesticides on playgrounds and on the grounds of child care centers and public and private schools that serve students from kindergarten through eighth grade.
The bill would also direct the Commissioner of Environmental Protection, in consultation with the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services, to adopt rules and regulations concerning pesticide application, record keeping and staff and parent notification in order to mitigate potential health risks associated with pesticides.
The bill would allow for pesticides to be used as an emergency response to an immediate health threat.
According to a recent Academy of Pediatrics study, there is a strong correlation between children's exposure to pesticides and pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function and behavior problems.
"At home, parents are encouraged to lock up chemicals and toxic cleaning supplies to protect their children from the dangerous side-effects," said Senator Gordon, D-Bergen and Passaic. "Yet when they send their kids to school or to the playground, they are often exposed to pesticides that can have an equally disastrous effect. The medical community is saying it is time to end this exposure, so now we must ensure the law complies with these findings."
The bill now heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for further review.
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