Protect Long Island's Drinking Waters and Coastal Waters from Dangerous Pesticides with the CCE
Last week, I received a knock on my door, late at night. Now, mind you, I consider anything past the hour of 8 pm “late at night”. I opened the door to find a bundled up young woman, shivering in the cold, and I invited her into the house to warm up and talk to me about the flyer in her hand.
She was from the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, a charity that I have donated to for as many years as I have been living in my home. She began her monologue by informing me that the last time that I had signed, the organization had been instrumental in getting pesticides banned from school grounds in the area, or at least having school grounds flagged with banners to advise that pesticides had been used. She said it was a huge success for the group, and that this year, there was something new that they needed aid with.
She brought to my attention that new and alarming groundwater quality test results compiled from the DEC documented 117 active pesticides found in our drinking water. She said that this year’s campaign was focused on banning the use of the three most toxic offenders, which are atrazine, mentality, and imidacloprid. She also went on to say that the DEC recently released the “Draft Long Island Pesticide Pollution Prevention Strategy”. The strategy, however, does not protect drinking water against toxic contamination, but rather calls for more meetings and more planning. CCE is now calling upon the DEC to fulfill their mandate of pollution prevention and public health protection.
I was asked to write several letters to members of the assembly and Senate, as well as members of the DEC, and she would return in about an hour to pick them up. I gave her a small donation, and began working on the letters. I was amazed at what I read about the pesticides that CCE is working on to get banned. I think you might be amazed, as well, upon reading this:
*Imidacloprid is used to control insects on lawns, turf, gardens, farms, pets, and in households. It is a known neurotoxin that has been identified to damage the nervous system and ground water, as it leaches quickly into soil.
*Metalaxyl is a fungicide that leaches into sandy soils and is highly soluble in water. Linked to kidney and liver damage in humans, it is also highly toxic to birds.
*Atrazine was banned from the European Union in 2004 because of its persistent groundwater contamination and its link to birth defects and reproductive system damage.
Back in 1979, the pesticide Temik was banned on Long Island, but the levels of this toxic pesticide continue to increase in water supplies for 20 years after its use! Because homeowners and farmers nowadays don’t like to see the appearance of disease or insects on their crops or lawns, they don’t realize the ramifications for future generations, and that not only frightens me, but makes me sad for the selfishness. To debug or not to debug…that is the question.
The detection of these pesticides has been found in Long Island surface waters, community wells, monitoring wells, and private wells. The thought that right now, I am ingesting these poisons into my body has called me to action. I hope it calls you to action, as well.
You can do one of several things. Write your local assemblyperson, asking them to ban the use of these pesticides. Ask your Senator, via letter, to rework the two year re-registration process to include labeling changes or a ban on Long Island for pesticides that are contaminating groundwater. Contact the DEC and let them know that they should take responsibility for assessing and identifying safer alternatives to toxic pesticides found in our groundwater. Also ask the DEC to develop an aggressive program that gives farmers incentives to discontinue the most detected pesticides contaminating groundwater today.
Join me in the fight to keep our drinking water safe. After all, it isn’t just our drinking water that we need to consider, but the groundwater for our children and our children’s children. And that, to me, is one of the greatest things that we can do for Long Island’s ground water, as well as for our future.