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/.
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
Keene, NH 03431
A project of students and scientists in collaboration with local citizens and NH state representatives.