by Kait West
I support the HB399 Bill that the state of New Hampshire is trying to pass. I
support it for many reasons, mostly because it affects me personally as a resident
of New Hampshire for about 9 months out of the year, and it also protects the
children in the surrounding areas. I believe that there is no good in the overuse of
pesticides, especially in areas where children play. It is obvious to me that a
synthetic chemical is not good to come in direct contact with and a long term
exposure to these chemicals have been proven to have chronic effects on our
endocrine systems. Pesticides have one job, and that job is to kill. It does not know
or care what it is killing, it just knows it is programmed to kill any kind of living thing
around. Just this right here is enough to not want these pesticides to be sprayed all
over our foods, and getting into our water systems. These chemicals are extremely
unnatural to our immune systems, and have obvious effects on our developing cells,
I support this bill to be passed all the way because as a kid I was always
running around on fields and playgrounds rolling around in dirt. I know that if I were
still a kid today, and this bill affected me more, I know my family and I would feel
good about this being passed. I think that in a controlled manner, pesticides could
be sprayed and for emergency situations. For example, deep in the woods as a
border, just so these pests don’t even go near the affected area. This could stop the
problem before it even happens and keeps it out of the way of children. I think if
this bill is passed it would do nothing but help the health of all individuals and
animals around and will especially keep children safer. I think back to all the soccer
games I had outside as a little kid, and all the time I spent on playgrounds outside
for recess or just for fun. I guess we will not know these direct long term effects and
understand them until we see it show up for ourselves. Considering all of the cases
in the area around of children developing cancer at a young age who play outside
on these playgrounds, and the continuing use of pesticides you could see the
correlation. These chemicals are trained to kill and that is their only job. Children
with vulnerable immune systems do not need to be exposed to these chemicals at
such a high rate, and their endocrine systems cannot handle it. In fact, it disrupts
the endocrine system so much, that it can affect DNA formation, and has been
linked to an increase in Autism in children around the area. I think it is frightening,
the amount of power that is behind these synthetic chemicals, and how blind people
are to the real problem that is going on. Farmers still mindlessly spray pesticides on
their crops, to make money out of their product, not focus on the quality of it. I think
that if this bill gets passed it is a step in the right direction to stop a worldwide use
of pesticides and have safer food and water systems, along with safer places for
children to grow and play.
by Brian Valante
HB399 is not a very exciting piece of legislature, however it does have some significance
to some members of the community. It's easy to see how this piece of legislature is important to
someone who has small children, but I feel like a large amount of people don’t care one way or
the other. As someone who does not have children I would care more about how these pesticides
are affecting the environment and less about how they could harm people. Overall I do not have
many strong opinions regarding HB399, I personally feel that most of the things mentioned in
the bill are either common sense or common courtesy. For example it mentions posting a notice
of when companies are going to spray pesticides, this seems like the obvious logical thing to do.
Which raises the question, did companies not have to do that before? Also was there state
legislation about pesticides before this? Is HB399 a completely new document or did someone
take an old bill and change a few things? I don't know the answers to these questions, and frankly
I don’t care. At this current period in time I don’t know what this piece of legislations status is. I
don’t know if it is in its final form or if it still needs to be workshopped. At first glance it raised a
few questions and the occasional clarification, however at the end of the day this is a really
simple piece of legislature. Whether it will be passed or not I am uncertain, the real question that
I wonder is does anyone care. Of course someone cares because someone had to write the thing,
and some people probably showed up to a couple of meetings to talk about it but does the
community as a whole care about this issue. As a college student I have to worry about things
like deadlines and exams, I don’t have the time or the brain capacity to seriously be concerned
about choking on pesticides as I walk to class. In the bill it mentions spraying around
playgrounds and schools, so I would hope that anyone that this effects would know about the
legislation. That being said who knows if the community as a whole is aware of this bill. I bet if I
asked a random person on the street if they knew what HB399 was they wouldn't have a clue.
Sure there's probably plenty of concerned parents out there, but there are also probably parents
that aren't concerned. Perhaps I am wrong, perhaps more people know about this issue than I
would expect. Maybe this whole process is more complex and complicated then I understand it
to be. All I know for certain is how I feel about this bill.
by Olivia Toomey
I support HB399 because I believe in the evidence stating that
pesticides are harmful for children. Children should not be exposed to the
chemicals in these pesticides at schools, sports fields, playgrounds, etc. at
such a young age. And while they are at a crucial point in development, they
are more at risk for developmental issues caused by pesticide exposure. I
also think they are more at risk because children are not as careful about
how they play. They commonly play outside and do not come inside and
think “I should wash my hands”, so these pesticides can easily affect them.
It is also important how this bill requires all other organic methods to be
considered first, if pesticide use is proposed in the first place. Pesticides
have one purpose; to kill, so it makes sense that they would not be healthy
to be around. And these pesticides do not stay in one place, they could
negatively affect the environment around where they are being sprayed.
These chemicals could become airborne or seep into waterways where they
can be spread very quickly and easily. Contaminated air and water is not
something that anybody wants. This could also negatively affect nearby
farm crops and cause a flourishing harvest to perish. I do not believe
spraying pesticides are worth these risks at all. Keene State College has
been pesticide free for years now, and there have been no problems
associated with this. Why should we sacrifice our potential health and
environment to spray chemicals that get rid of some insects or other
organisms? I believe it is much safer to let it be, and not disrupt nature’s
processes with foreign chemicals.
by Nick Tolman
As our society continues to grow technologically, it can be hard to admit that some of the
things we do to protect our friends and family may be harming them instead. Pesticides have
become a point of interest in the past decade or so because we are realizing the long-term health
effects of being exposed to them. In an attempt to reduce pesticide usage in fields near children,
who have much weaker immune systems and are more likely to me harmed by them, house bill
399 was submitted into the process of approval by NH house representative Jim McConnell. The
bill would restrict pesticide usage to only emergency applications, meaning only when it was
necessary to treat the grass for fungi or other potentially harmful pests. It doesn’t mean no
pesticide use at all, which I think is an important point that many people are missing. Pesticides
will be used no matter what, the bill would just like to reduce the frequency so that children with
susceptible immune systems are exposed less often.
I believe that this is a great bill. Children should be protected from harmful substances whenever
possible. Pesticides do prevent harmful pests, but at the cost of exposing children and parents to
chemicals that are designed to kill. I think the main worry of this bill is that somebody must be in
charge of deciding what pest or fungi might be dangerous enough to treat. It means somebody
has to comb through the grass consistently to make sure nothing is forming or intruding in the
field. Also, that person has to have enough knowledge about pests to know what is or isn’t an
emergency. Not treating the correct pest could put anyone on the field in harm’s way. What I
don’t know and what most people don’t know is whether constant pesticide exposure is worse
than one incident of poison ivy or something of that nature. Poison ivy goes away after a few
weeks, the health effects of pesticides could last your entire life.
The best option is to just use pesticides when they are absolutely necessary. If we don’t know
that they are completely safe, then there’s no way that we can know that they aren’t dangerous.
Reducing our exposure is the smartest plan until more tests can be done that look at long-term
issues. The bill doesn’t completely get rid of pesticides, which would be much more
unreasonable because of the pests that need to be treated in the grass. It would also be impossible
to pass because of all of the money and influence that pesticide companies have. At some point,
big corporations producing pesticides need to stop and think about what their products could be
doing to the future leaders of our country. Children are far more important to the country’s future than a few million dollars in a big corporation’s pocket. This bill could potentially save many children from having health issues due to pesticide exposure in the future.
by Gwendolyn Thayer
My position of the HB399 bill is to have it pass, because it is vital to
keep the public safe from pesticides. After attending the committee meeting
at the State House in Concord, New Hampshire, was an eye-opening and an
educational experience. Both negative and positive perspectives on the
HB399 bill was interesting. Both sides for the bill were passionate in their
perspectives on how the issue should be resolved.
My position on the bill was greatly influenced by Dr. J. Routt Regeart
that was at the Concord State House. He spoke passionately to have the bill
to be active because of the negative health effects that pesticides can cause.
He supported the bills proposal to have pesticides be removed from the
areas that children that are at play. He believed that pesticides should only
be executed when there is an absolute emergency. Otherwise, the area
should be free from having pesticides regularly applied. Dr. Regeart has
witnessed over his years as a Pediatrician for children, the health issues
that arise with exposure to pesticides. He states that children have weak
immune systems compared to adults. Pesticides are invented to kill.
Pesticides are used to kill insects by attacking the immune system.
Pesticides do not discriminate humans, especially not children. Dr. Regeart
also states that pesticides could alter the immune system and delay
development of a child. This can possibly lead to illnesses such as ADHD,
ADD, asthma, and cancers. He also stated that children can be exposed
indirectly to pesticides. For example, infants can be exposed to pesticides
through their mother’s breast milk (regardless if you are pregnant there are
possible traces of pesticides) specifically DET. Also, the consumption of
water and food. Pesticides can be water born and be on our foods that we
Prior to the committee meeting on HB399 in Concord, my views on
pesticides were unsure. I was unsure how pesticides affected human health.
After the committee meeting, I believe that chemicals being applied in
public spaces where children are at play is very concerning. The chemical
makeup of the pesticide is concerning to be around. The risks that are
associated with pesticides is a troubling-trade off for our own health.
Before, I was aware how the breakthrough of pesticides enhanced
production of food, eliminated pest concerns within an environment and
boosted ‘non-pest’ areas within a community. Regardless, it is frightening
how the chemicals are going to affect human’s years down the road.
However, we are willing to challenge the un-known harmful effect that
pesticides have on people, especially children. Some people believe the
benefits of pesticides outweigh the risks. But do the benefits of pesticides
outweigh a child’s life being at risk. My position on the HB399 bill is to stop
challenging the risks that pesticides have on human health.
by Vincent Saputo
After looking through previous New Hampshire legislation surrounding pesticide use and
application around schools, playgrounds, and sports fields, there does not seem to be much in
place to specifically notify people of pesticide application where children play. However, there
currently are laws restricting pesticide use in sensitive areas where exposure to the pesticide
could have an adverse effect on human health or the environment. New Hampshire Pes 506.07
lists sensitive areas as schools, playgrounds, athletic fields, and nurseries or day cares. So my
understanding of the existing regulations is that any pesticide application around schools or these particular areas where children play is currently illegal.
HB 399 states that lawn care pesticides cannot be applied to school grounds, child
care agencies, community playgrounds, or athletic fields at all, unless in the case of an
emergency pesticide application. This term "emergency pesticide application" seems to be new in
the legislative language used in pesticide bills surrounding application near schools and so on.
As defined in the bill, emergency pesticide application would only occur when all other methods
have been determined to have been exhausted, and there is an imminent threat to public health,
where an outbreak of stinging, biting, or poisonous insects or plants occurs. This section of the
bill seems to be protecting children from pesticides in general and from dangerous insects or
plants, but it is also allowing pesticide use in the areas where children play. While current law states these are sensitive areas where pesticides shall not be used, HB399 would allow an exception, in that case of emergency application. Personally, I do not see the reason why at this point and time we ought to begin making exceptions to pesticide application on sensitive areas as defined in Pes 506.07.
Additionally, the way HB 399 defines lawn care pesticide excludes certain chemicals and
other pesticides in general. To me, it sounds like this would create a loophole in pesticide
restrictions at these areas where children play, and would disregard the need for prior notification for applications. The main exemption from the definition of lawn care pesticide that is troublesome to me is “A microbial or biochemical pesticide registered with the EPA”. If there
were to be an application of a microbial or biochemical pesticide on school grounds, I think it
should be necessary to still notify those affected. Still, I do not see the need to exempt this kind
of pesticide from the definition of lawn care pesticide.
Furthermore, HB 399 focuses on the notification of those that would be affected, or the
guardians of those that would be affected in the case of an emergency application. The bill states
that notification be required 24 hours in advance of an emergency pesticide application including
the specifics of the pesticide, the targeted pest, and where and when it would be applied. While it
is positive that the bill would require some kind of notification prior to the application of
pesticides, 24 hours seems very minimal for notification. In the case of an emergency application
that would require the exhaustion of all other methods of pest control, there would and should be
plenty more time to notify those affected, I would suggest a minimum of 72 hours.
Overall, I cannot support HB 399. To me the bill seems to deregulate aspects of current
pesticide application restrictions on school grounds, playgrounds, athletic fields, and so on. The
definitions of lawn care pesticide in the bill seem to be too exclusionary, leaving out other
pesticides that the use of should likely be restricted as well. Also, the aspect of notification
requirements in cases of emergency application seem to be too light, as notifications should be
made far in advance of 24 hours prior to application. Additionally, I cannot see the reason that at
this point in time this bill is completely necessary in the state of New Hampshire.
by Alex Rushworth
The bill HB399 was created to limit the amount of pesticides used in
public places in the state of New Hampshire. It has made requirements
regarding any emergency pesticide application varying by location, some
being stricter than others. For example, for a community athletic field,
there must be at least a 24 hour public notice provided to coaches of the
teams scheduled to play and or practice on the field within the next 7 days.
Coaches are supposed to notify parents or legal guardians of the athletes
directly or with an email or call. I believe this is a great step in the right
direction, pesticides have been proven to have carcinogens which lead to
cancer and birth defects. On top of that, this personally affects me, as I am
an athlete. While I know Keene State College is not affiliated with this bill, I
know how much sports require people to be rolling in the grass and, with
heavy pesticide use, that could lead to serious issues for athletes in the
future. In my opinion pesticides are usually sprayed because the pest is
an annoyance, not an emergency, so in reality the pesticides are a lot more
dangerous than the pest being sprayed.
While I believe this bill is a step in the right direction, I believe there
are quite a few flaws that make this bill ineffective. The biggest issue I have
is that they give the agencies spreading the pesticides 24 hours after
applying to notify the public or whomever the public area effects. At home I
work for a landscaping company that often spreads pesticides, from my
research the most dangerous time to be in a place often sprayed by
pesticides is within 24 hours after, usually after 24 hours the pesticides
absorb themselves into the soil and make it more difficult to be picked up by
something moving through that area. Another issue I have is about who gets
to decide that a situation requires an emergency pesticide application. In the bill
it states, whoever is in charge of the specific area gets to decide if the
situation is considered “an emergency” and I don’t believe a
nonprofessional in the pesticide field like a principle or a director of a day
care should make that decision, I believe they should be required to call in a
professional to determine the situation is an emergency.
In conclusion I believe this bill has a lot of great ideas, but also points
that need to be revised to make this more effective. This is definitely a step
in the right direction to hopefully one day make New Hampshire completely
by Sarah Larsen
I am in support of using as little pesticides as possible and avoiding
them when unnecessary. The HB399 bill is a good bill that sets out to
restrict pesticide application in places where children work and play, but
needs to be more specific regarding certain issues. If I had to vote on
HB399, I would vote to enact it because I believe ‘better safe than sorry’
and we should protect children in particular from as many possible toxins as
possible as they are still developing.
I personally believe that the scientific evidence supporting the fact
that pesticides can cause both environmental and health effects is reason
for concern when it comes to human and environmental health. Pesticides
should be used only in emergency situations especially when children are
involved. Pesticides are chemicals made to kill and they don’t just target
one species, they attempt to kill any species. Just the fact that people who
spray pesticides have to be fully protected to be sure they don’t inhale any
chemicals or get it on their skin is a red flag. If pesticides were so harmless,
would there really be a need for suits and strict regulations during
application? The World Health Organization states that there are 3 million
cases of pesticide poisoning and approximately 220,000 deaths per year due
to pesticide exposure (Breaking News). Exposure to pesticides has been
shown to cause hormone issues, reproduction issues, reduced motor skills,
skin issues, etc. Although pesticides are useful in food production and pest
control management, I feel that the risks outweigh the benefits of applying
Although pesticides are toxic to adults, because children are smaller
and are still actively developing physically as well as mentally, the effects of
pesticides can have larger and longer lasting effects. Because of this, I don’t
believe that pesticides should be sprayed when there is no immediate threat
to safety- especially when children are involved.
HB399 aims to reduce the amount of pesticides applied to any areas
where children “learn and play” except in emergencies with proper
notification. This is important because if a pesticide were needed to be
sprayed to protect children’s immediate health and/or safety in a
play/learning area a notification would need to be sent out. Parents would
have the ability to be notified which gives parents the freedom to choose
whether they want to expose their children to a specific pesticide.
Given the good intentions of the bill- protecting children from possible
immediate and future effects to a pesticide toxin, I think there is room for
clarification in the bill. I believe there has to be more organization at the
town level when it comes down to who is responsible for notifying families
in situations that involve emergency pesticide application in an organized
outdoor sports area or community athletic field. Also, what/who determines
a pest is a large threat enough to apply pesticides needs to be more clear.
Although overall, HB399 is a good bill that aims to protect the safety
of children from toxins and think it is a bill that would be beneficial to
“Breaking News.” Effects of Pesticides on Human Health, Toxipedia, 6 May
by Alanna Halloran
Every day, children are playing in the grass of public land in New Hampshire.
The bill seeks the reduction of pesticide use on school grounds, athletic fields,
playgrounds and the grounds of day care centers. These public lands have the
potential of previously being sprayed with pesticides that have the potential to be
harmful to the children. The potential bill HB 399 presented by Jim McConnell
seeks to limit the use of pesticides where children play in order to protect
them from the harmful chemicals used to eradicate a certain area of insects
that can cause harm either to the land or the people on it. It is a bill with
good intentions, for it sets out to protect children who are most vulnerable to
the effects of pesticides. I am in support of this bill because of its clear goal
to protect children from the harmful effects of pesticides.
One of the main reasons that I feel this bill is important to pass and
explicitly protect children is because of the health risks they face. Children
are more at risk to the potentially harmful effects of pesticides due to their
small stature and due to the fact that when they play they are extremely
close to the ground so the ingestion of pesticides is more direct. By limiting
their exposure to these dangerous chemicals, we can prevent possible
poisonings and sicknesses that can significantly impact a child’s health or
growth. Though we may not be able to prevent the use of pesticides
completely, it is important to warn parents of areas that have been sprayed
so they can be aware of the risk their children face when playing in certain
One of the biggest concerns that could exist if this bill gets passed is
its potential of weakening the pesticide laws that are already in place.
However, I feel that this bill established clear requirements for where and
when pesticides can be used. It also requires that an official surveys the
problem and deems it worthy of pesticide use, so that when application is
desired it is only in emergency cases. This makes it less likely that pesticide
will be used in unnecessary scenarios because of the many steps that must
be taken to get permission.
There also is the fact that parents must be informed of areas that have
been sprayed for pesticides. This provides an extra protective measure for
children so that they know what areas are not safe to play in. By keeping
informed about the use of pesticides, parents can avoid the risk of their child
playing in pesticides and being affected by the chemicals.
Over all, I feel that the bill HB399 will put in place important protective
measures for areas where children play being affected by pesticide. I feel
this is a problem that people don’t often think about, and that must have a
form of regulation which would be accomplished with the passing of this bill.
More information regarding the science and legislature of the bill can be
found at http://www.nhscienceforcitizens.org/.
by Dane Doormann
When discussing the use of pesticides, many would think they’re vital
for the growth of vegetation and of course, keeping pests from infecting and
destroying grasses, crops, and more. Although this may have truth, many
are unaware of the danger pesticides can cause to humans, especially
children. The HB399 bill was created to decrease the use of pesticides
where children play; for example, playgrounds, schools, parks, etc. This bill
was put into place due to the unnecessary volume of pesticide use in areas
where children are most susceptible. One can only imagine the risk children
face when exposed to chemicals that’s sheer purpose is to kill. Due to this, I
am in full support of the HB399 bill.
Pesticides are fairly new to the world of science, and their health risks
have not been fully analyzed. This alone should be a reason to decrease the
amount of pesticides used, especially when it comes to where children are
most vulnerable. Try for a moment, to remember being a child in a
playground or park; I am confident in saying most children roll around in
the grass and then what? They touch their faces and their mouths. That
means the pesticides used in these areas are being directly transferred into
children’s fragile bodies. I am no health expert, but I believe chemicals
whose purpose is to kill are not meant to enter children’s systems.
Although this bill has my full support, I do believe it is lacking in some
areas. For example, the HB399 bill allows pesticide use when it is
necessary. To what extent is necessary? And can any pesticide be used to
kill off a pest that has taken over a particular area? I believe this part of the
bill is vague and more information and thought needs to be acknowledged
in order to make this bill successful. If, for example, pesticides were needed
in a children’s play area, would these children be allowed back on the
property a day after the pesticide was placed, a week, two weeks? This is
crucial information that is essential for this bill to be advantageous. I would
advise that this lack of information be thought through and established into
the bill. With more concrete guidelines on the use of pesticides when
absolutely mandatory, this bill would further lend support to the safety of
children exposed to these dangerous chemicals.
Overall, I am in support of the need to reduce the use of chemicals
where children reside, but the HB399 bill needs some work. This is the way
towards a better future, and the future begins with our children. By
reducing pesticide use where children play, our society is taking a huge
step towards a better future. No child should be exposed to chemicals
whose outright purpose is to kill; this is a moral view that I truly believe in,
and I believe you should too. Take a look at
and specifically, the HB399 bill. It is extremely important that actions be
taken to ensure the children of our society are safe. If this were your child,
would you be in support of the HB399 bill?
Students and faculty from classes on Environmental Governance and Environmental Law at Keene State College are the authors of these posts. We also invite guest authors when appropriate.
NH Science for Citizens
Department of Environmental Studies
Keene State College
Keene, NH 03431
A project of students and faculty at Keene State College in collaboration with local NH state representatives.