Friday, October 26, 2012

Limits needed on pesticide use

Kudos to Dick Dorworth for his column on Rachel Carson, who alerted the country to the many dangers associated with chemical pesticides. Mr. Dorworth praised a conservation hero, but also recognized Carson’s appeal that we all heed conservation’s continuing call; Rachel Carson knew that there was much left to do to safeguard our communities and our health.

Although Carson’s life work did lead to public awareness regarding the health effects of pesticides and a ban on specific uses of some chemicals, chemical pesticides are still widely used across the country. They are often used in places where children and pets are exposed to them unnecessarily. These harmful chemicals are used at schools, on playing fields and in public parks, despite the fact that safer alternatives are readily available.

The Wood River Valley is no exception. Right now, there is no consistent public policy that protects us from exposure to pesticides in the parks and schools across our valley. Pesticide Action Network of Blaine County formed to address this need and to protect kids, whose developing bodies are particularly vulnerable to pesticides.

We can heed Rachel Carson’s call here in our own community by passing local policies that prioritize alternative methods of weed and pest control over toxic chemicals. Other communities have taken these steps. Durango, Colo., for example, recently decided to use organic methods in all the city parks. Blaine County Recreation District and the city of Ketchum have taken important steps forward, but there is a great deal more work to be done to keep our community healthy.

Be a part of the solution. Please join our effort to keep kids (and the entire family) safe by signing on to the campaign for safer schools, parks and trails in the Wood River Valley at www.

Kathryn Goldman

Campaign director

Pesticide Action Network of Blaine County

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