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?
By Tia Auger
HB 399 is a step in the right direction towards a healthier,
environmentally sound, and sustainable future. While there are many
positive aspects to this bill, it still has room for improvement, and much
stricter regulation would be ideal in the near future. I support this bill as is,
although it could be improved with some revision.
One of the most hope inducing parts of this bill is its sponsor, Jim
McConnell. It is encouraging that a republican representative is supporting
this bill. Pesticide restriction is stereotypically dismissed by conservatives
who believe regulation is unnecessary, and difficult for business. It is
misunderstood that technology alone will solve environmental issues
without any push such as regulation to do so. In their 2016 platform the
republican party stated,
We firmly believe environmental problems are best solved by giving
incentives for human ingenuity and the development of new
technologies, not through top-down, command-and-control regulations
that stifle economic growth and cost thousands of jobs.
Yet, it has often been seen that businesses are capable of quickly
rebounding and updating technologies without job losses or upsetting the
economy, and regulation is the fastest way to induce change. The economy
relies on resources provided by the environment. The economic system of
unlimited growth is simply impossible in a finite world where the actions of
industry cause a positive feedback loop where mass amounts of resources
are used in ways that ultimately destroy more resources. Putting health
before business is also best for the long term health of the economy, and
does not just benefit the modern 1%.
If the bill passes, it would be another recognition of the dangers of
pesticides in law. This is why companies such as Monsanto have already
taken notice of it, and are testifying against it.
Pesticide companies are reliant on the general public being naive to the
health and ecological impacts of pesticides, or there would be public
uproar. Because so many of the products used today are harmful to human
health, unless there is a large scientific push or regulation many are willing
to dismiss the danger because they, “...will already get cancer anyways.” It
is absolutely deplorable that citizens are exposed to such health risks so
commonly, and HB 399 is the first of many steps towards a healthier
society. This bill is easy for even skeptics to support because no one wants
to endanger children who are obviously the most at risk due to their
developmental stage and their interactions with lawns. We do need to value
human life at all ages as well.
While the bill is a good step forward it could use clarification, and
better notification systems. Several positions within local government are
given responsibilities that need further detail. There should be detailed
rules regarding what can be considered an emergency warranting pesticide
application. If the town board of health does not agree with the purpose of
this bill, any small issue could be considered for pesticide application. Those
in charge of this should also be provided an educational course or reading
material to learn more about safe pest management and the health effects
of pesticides. The notices would also be much more effective prior to
pesticide use so it may be effective to require pesticide sprayers to post
signage in case those responsible for providing notice to citizens were
unable to before pesticides were sprayed.
HB 399 would be a great addition to New Hampshire legislation that
would truly be for the people. At the very least it was able to spark a
conversation and educate people on the negative health effects of practices
so common they go unnoticed. As Rachel Carson states in
Why should we tolerate a diet of weak poisons, a home in insipid
surroundings, a circle of acquaintances who are not quite our
enemies, the noise of motors with just enough relief to prevent
insanity? Who would want to live in a world which is just not quite
By Dorothy Arroyo
House Bill is a bill that would stop pesticides from being used in areas
where children play. I am in support of this bill because of its hazard
preventative measures to ensures the health of children. Those who oppose
this bill think it's unnecessary and unwise because children are exposed to
pesticides in other settings and their risk to experience pest related harm
could be heightened. I want to highlight the hazard I believe pesticides hold
and how valuable it is to limit use around children.
Pesticides are a hazard in the sense that they are made to kill in a
short amount of time. Former Pediatric Doctor J. Routt makes the
comparison that both pesticides and HIV aim to kill t-cells. T-cells help
serve the immune system, and without their function leads to illness and
death. Of course, pesticides effectively eliminate pests. High dose-response
tests on rats show that pesticides kill rats. Though pesticides at low doses
can't kill humans, pesticide poisoning can still occur. What we have yet to
find out it is how low dose-response
over time affects humans.
Doctor Routt worked with children as his patients for over 30 years.
He saw and is familiar with what pesticide poisoning looks like.
Furthermore, he has seen what chronic pesticide poisoning has turned into.
Children who are exposed to pesticides early on experience asthmatic
symptoms, developmental delays, and immune system disorders. Keep in
mind children can be exposed to pesticides before they leave the womb.
Those who argue limitation of pesticides is unnecessary is putting children's
health at risk. Pesticides are poisonous and harmful, and the more we can
prevent exposure, the better for the long-term health hazards.
In the short-term regular pesticides decrease the presence of harmful
insects and rodent. This protects children from insect and rodent related
wounds and allergic reactions. However, there are safer options than
pesticides. Organic pest management practices are thought to be expensive,
but over time saves money for the community. Use of natural oils and
irrigation of dirt is as effective as poisonous pesticides and the latent
ingredient are not made specifically to attack immune systems and kill
House Bill 399 is a step towards avoiding causing harm to children.
The bill will not eliminate all risks and exposures to pesticides, however it
will lessen the direct exposures starting at a young age. There is not a
whole lot we know about pesticides and how they will affect us inn 30 years.
What I do know is it's unnecessary to poison children starting from a young
age, only to be the cause of permanently damaged and weakened immune
systems. I support House Bill 399 because it's a bill that will help prevent
future harm to humans. Pesticides may not be the number one harm to
humans, but there is no evidence that says it's helping human health.
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.