Monday, January 31, 2011

A Small Dose of Pesticides

Learn about the hazards of pesticides. 

Most people are not aware of the thousands of pesticides and their formulations that are in use today, some of them in huge volumes and on huge acreages worldwide -- acaricides, algicides, antifoulants, avicides, bactericides, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, molluscicides, nematicides, piscicides, rodenticides, virucides, and the related plant and insect growth regulators; chemosterilants; bird, mammal and insect repellents, insect pheromones and other attractants. Product formulations may contain more than one active ingredient, as well as synergists, “safeners”, and other ingredients formerly so-called “inerts”.

Watch An Introduction to the Health Effects of Pesticides
PowerPoint Presentation (also available in Acrobat format)

Watch “Humanity Disrupted.”  This series of eight short videos explain how endocrine disruptors disrupt your life even in infinitesimal quantities.
What is an endocrine disruptor?
What do they do to my body?
How do I come into contact with them?
How to prevent this problem?

See: TEDX (The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, Inc.), the only organization that focuses primarily on the human health and environmental problems caused by low-dose and/or ambient exposure to chemicals that interfere with development and function, called endocrine disruptors.

It was founded by Dr. Theo Colborn, co-author of Our Stolen Future,
a book that examines the ways that synthetic chemicals interfere with hormonal messages involved in the control of growth and development, especially in the fetus.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Organic lawn care protects water quality

When you fertilize your lawn, you also fertilize our ponds, harbors and drinking water. Beautiful brochure to share to promote protecting water by organic lawn care.
Nantucket Land Council

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Still waiting for 2010 Newton Herbicide reports - correspondence

From: Ellie Goldberg <>
Date: Tue, Jan 25, 2011 at 4:34 PM
Subject: Re: reply to request
To: Linda Walsh <>
Cc:, marciac <>

Hi Linda and Bob, 
     Thanks for getting back to me.  Unfortunately you didn't provide the Newton specific herbicide reports I was expecting.
     You provided links to the Vegetation Management Plans.  As you know from earlier emails, I already have all the Vegetation Management Plans and also posted the links to them on my Don't Spray 'Em, Outsmart 'Em website
     I was asking for the dates and other details of Newton's 2010 herbicide applications and the copies of the notifications that the applicators are required to provide to the city agencies by the state regulations.  We discussed the details of the notification and reporting requirements at the meeting in Bob Rooney's office. 
     Can I assume that the lack of documents means that none of the herbicide users gave proper notification to the city?
     Bob, can you follow up with your promise to obtain the information from the herbicide application contractors or agencies?
     Thanks for your help,

From: Linda Walsh <>
Date: Tue, Jan 25, 2011 at 3:46 PM
Subject: reply to request
To: Ellie Goldberg <>

Dear Ellie,

The information you have requested regarding the herbicides used by various companies and agencies to control vegetation can be found on the website of the Department of Agricultural Resources, specifically:

The following conduct herbicide application in Newton:
Mass DOT District 6:
N Star lists Newton as one of the municipalities:
CSX Railway:
Mass. DCR:
MBTA Rapid Transit Lines:

The reports do not provide data on the amounts of herbicides applied in each community.  I have been informed that this is not part of their required submissions to the state. You might wish to contact the Right of Way Vegetation Management Division of the Department of Agricultural Resources for additional information.

As you have noted in your article, I have written to The Department of Agricultural Resources asking for more timely notification of when herbicide application will be undertaken in Newton.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Children Sprayed at Day Care with Railroad Herbicides

Note from Ellie: It is interesting to read this article because the MBTA tracks runs so close to homes, yards, play areas, and gardens in Newton. The MBTA are using the same herbicides as the ones in this story.  

(Beyond Pesticides, July 26, 2007) Children Sprayed at Day Care with Railroad Herbicides.  A company with previous pesticide violations will likely face a significant fine after accidentally spraying children at a day care in Virginia last week with herbicides. Several children were directly sprayed and at least three experienced symptoms of acute pesticide poisoning.
The company, NaturChem, was hired by Norfolk Southern to spray a section of railroad tracks, which they do every three years to suppress unwanted plants along the tracks. Sixteen children were playing outside at the day care, adjacent to the tracks as the NaturChem tanker went by. Four children, who were playing along the fence, were directly sprayed. While day care staff took them inside, washed them and changed their clothes immediately, at least three children had acute symptoms following their exposure, including a bloody nose, diarrhea, eye irritation, and blistering.

Read more here. And be sure to read the comments.

Don't be fooled by contractor names that sound "environmentally friendly." Consumers need to be cautious and skeptical to avoid being poisoned. Be alert for false safety claims and unethical practices. Just because a company is named EnviroGreen or OrganoLawn doesn't mean that you are safe.  Read more

Monday, January 10, 2011

Update from Ellie re: Herbicide Use in Newton 1 10 2011

Dear friends and neighbors,

Thanks for your interest in the issue of herbicide use on the MBTA.

Since first contacting Mayor Warren, I've learned that not only the MBTA but also several state agencies (highways, railroads, and other rights of way) have been applying herbicides and plan future herbicide use in Newton. 

The Mayor has not responded to the November 12 letter, but he designated Bob Rooney, Chief Operating Officer, to find out more.

At a meeting Mr. Rooney held with MBTA officials and contractors and a few Newton officials, he learned that, a
lthough there are state regulations requiring reporting, record keeping and public notification, these regulations have not been followed.  (No official minutes were taken at the meeting.) 

Linda Walsh (Health Department) wrote a response on behalf of the city to the MBTA's hearing announcement expressing an interest in better notification of herbicide use.  Walsh letter

To get a big picture of all the herbicide use by state agencies, I asked for a list of all the 2010 herbicide applications on Newton Rights of Way.  In late December, Bob Rooney said that the City Law Department would obtain information from the various agencies and their contractors but first was giving Linda Walsh time to search records at the Health Department.  I am waiting for that information.

I've posted
updates, history and other links and information online at Don't Spray 'em. Outsmart 'em.

Recent posts include a notice of a January 19 hearing regarding HIGHWAYS VEGETATION MANAGEMENT PLAN.

Personal note:

The evidence continues to grow about the role of pollution in preventable chronic conditions and health problems, especially asthma, birth defects, cancer and developmental disabilities.   

Do you know others who agree that protecting our families from preventable and harmful toxic exposures requires our government leaders to enforce environmental, health and safety laws and regulations?  

Please share this information and ask them to contact me to add their names to the list of Newton citizens who think that Newton citizens have a right to know when herbicides are used in our community and that it makes sense to reduce herbicides used by government agencies and other users.

Happy New Year,