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Camden Residents urge town to stop pesticide use

user 3022592
Portland, ME
Post #: 66
Camden: Residents urge town to stop pesticide use
Tuesday, August 14, 2007 - Bangor Daily News

A group of women, including several mothers and grandmothers, has called on the town to refrain from using pesticides on town-owned property, citing adverse health and environmental effects associated with such substances.

The Select Board will take up the request at its meeting tonight.

The group ? which includes Marsha Smith, Laurie Wolfrum, Molly Stone, Tracy Clark, Patrisha McLean, Beedy Parker, Marina Schauffler, Lori Van Dusen and Kathie Glass ? has created a draft policy it wants the town to adopt.

On Monday, while trying to keep an eye on her active 4-year-old grandson, Smith talked by telephone about the genesis of the anti-pesticide push.

"What started it for me was when I went to the library and saw one of those poison signs" warning adults to keep children away, she said.

A passionate advocate for organic food and opponent of synthetic chemicals in the environment, Smith said that for her, "that was the last straw. We?ve got to do something about this. Our first step is to try to get the town to not use pesticides."

She later learned the library was using an ant-control substance spread around the building?s foundation. But she worries about what her grandson is exposed to on grass in the town?s parks.

"When we go to the park, his favorite thing is to roll down the hill," Smith said, and she worries about what chemical fertilizers have been applied to it.

The proposed policy allows the town to use pesticides "in situations that pose an imminent threat of serious injury to persons, property or agriculture." It also allows for exemptions to be granted in cases that don?t meet the above threshold.

The policy also would require prior approval by the Camden Conservation Commission or a pesticide awareness committee, yet to be created, for pesticide use.

Authorization would not be given, according to the proposed policy, "without consideration of the alternatives to pesticide use, potential property damage, potential effects upon ground or surface water."

In the letter to the board accompanying the request, the group writes: "Use of common lawn chemicals is associated with cancer, birth defects, reproductive problems and nervous system damage. We are particularly concerned that the town and businesses are using toxic chemicals in places where children walk and play. These chemicals not only harm our citizens directly, they also spread into our water supply."

Smith said Castine has adopted a similar policy, as has Marblehead, Mass. Penobscot Bay Medical Center, with facilities in Camden, Rockport and Rockland, has made its properties pesticide free, she added.

Town Manager Roberta Smith said Monday the town?s public works and parks and recreation departments use such substances sparingly.

"We don?t use very much," she said, recalling a recent application to combat poison ivy.

The town also uses some weed and grass control substances on gravel cemetery roads, she said.

The anti-pesticide group hopes to host public lectures to further educate the community about what it sees as the dangers of synthetic lawn fertilizers and other chemical treatments, Marsha Smith said.

The board also will take up at its meeting an on-again, off-again request by Verizon Wireless to lease town-owned property off Sagamore Farm Road to site a cell phone tower.

The town manager said Verizon wanted the board to negotiate a lease with the company before it files an application before the planning board. But town officials prefer to see details of the plan before discussing a lease.

Smith called the standoff with Verizon a "chicken-or-egg problem" for which she is seeking board direction.
Merry & Burl H.
Portland, ME
Post #: 6
May Gaia bless the Moms and Grandmoms. I'll be rooting for them tonight. I love the "We don?t use very much," excuse. Don't they know it's cumulative? Merry
David S.
Washington, ME
Post #: 58
I think sometimes you really do have to kill the ants. That said, herbacides and pesticide use should be curtailed. This is what happens in a rich town. In Washington, the town does not have the dough to do this and very few people are motivated to do stuff like this anyway. People should get used to their dandelions and enjoy them. Good salad greens BTW. I never understood it. I always thought the dandelions and other little flowers were nice. I guess people somehow got sold on lawn monoculture. There may be too many golfers in the world. You can always mow your weeds.

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