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Ruth Berlin's picture

What do Maryland’s kids, our declining honeybees and fish have in common – and especially during this Maryland 2014 legislative session?

Pesticides! High rates of childhood cancer, autism, ADHD and asthma in Maryland and elsewhere have been linked to pesticide exposures. Pesticides are also implicated in intersex fish found in Maryland’s waterways; the “canaries in the coalmine,” according to USGS scientist Dr. Vicki Blazer. Pesticides are also linked to the startling decline in honeybees, frogs and butterflies. Just this past year Maryland beekeepers lost more than half of their beehives.

Because of your help in 2013, we made significant headway in protecting all life in Maryland from the adverse impacts of pesticides.

Your actions last year resulted in a state legislative workgroup that is assessing the need and best format for a pesticide use reporting database. Such a database will provide public health experts and environmental scientists with the data they need to study the impacts of pesticides on our health, our pets, our water and wildlife.

The workgroup recently released its interim report that officially establishes that data gaps exist in farmers’ and certified applicators’ pesticide use, and that researchers need this data to explore how, when and where pesticides are having adverse impacts. The report also recommends that the state collect pesticide use data.

Our collective voices got us this far and there is more we can accomplish together.

The workgroup recommends a very modest $10 increase in pesticide manufacturers’ annual product registration fees to fund a pesticide use database. We agree. Predictably, however, the pesticide industry and agri-business don’t. While Maryland has one of the lowest annual pesticide registration fees among 13 neighboring states, the multinational corporations are upset about this modest increase!

Smart on Pesticides Maryland will be supporting a bill in the 2014 General Assembly session that proposes the state require an additional $10 fee per product registered by corporations such as Dow and Monsanto for the collection, analysis and reporting of pesticide use data in the state.

Establishing a dedicated fund is a significant first step toward a comprehensive mandatory reporting pesticide use database.

Here’s what you can do right now to help -- please sign our petition today and then forward it to your friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues to support the efforts of the Smart on Pesticides Campaign.

Our collective voice is growing each day and we have a great opportunity this legislative session to take yet another step forward toward protecting our children, wildlife and our water. Please stay tuned!

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