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Ruth Berlin's picture

You would think getting a sane right-to-know bill passed in the Maryland legislature right now would be a done deal—right?   Not so much.

Industry opposition has killed a safe, sane and not-at-all burdensome Pesticide Reporting and Information Act, currently being considered by Maryland legislators,  the three previous times it’s been introduced.  Our public health and environmental experts, who are working to protect us, have been denied data to help them determine which pesticides may be impacting our children’s health and our waterways. This bill will provide them with that knowledge.

An inspiring coalition has come together in Maryland to help protect kids and families from toxic pesticide pollution throughout the Chesapeake Bay region.  Moms and doctors, students and scientists, watermen and environmentalists – we have banded together to push the Maryland legislature for passage of the Pesticide Reporting and Information Act (SB 675 and HB 775).

The committees will be voting the bill up or down any day now. Our legislators need to hear from us right now. Phone calls right now could really make the difference on this bill.

The law would “give the experts the information they need about what pesticides are being used and where, which can guide them when assessing what might be causing or contributing to a high level of, say, leukemia or autism in kids in a certain community,”  Jessica Pachler, a Maryland mother of three, testified at recent hearings on the bill before Maryland House and Senate committees.

But industry opposition has been intense! That’s why we need the vocal support of mothers and others right now in order to win approval of this legislation. The law  would simply require that pesticide use information be reported to a central database, so that public health experts can learn more about which toxic pesticides may be impacting our children’s health.

In impassioned testimony, Ashlinn Bunisky, a 17-year-old Baltimore high school student, told the legislative hearings, “Having learned about how more and more studies link pesticides to asthma, autism and other serious illnesses, we do not understand why anyone would want to get in the way of this bill being passed.”

Rebecca Ruggles, Director of the Maryland Environmental Health Network, testified that “Public health officials must be empowered to assess the link between certain pesticides and illness clusters in communities, such as asthma, autism spectrum disorders, and childhood cancers.”

Among the farmers testifying, Cleo Braver, of Maryland emphasized that she strongly supports the pesticide usage reporting law “because I care about the impact of my farming practices on our land, on my family's and neighbors' health, and on the health of the Chesapeake Bay and my community.”

Help us stop the agribusiness lobbyists from defeating this bill yet again. Let’s make the fourth time the charm!

Call your legislators today. They are hearing from the big money agribusiness lobby; now they need to hear from the people. Help Protect Maryland families, and support the Maryland Pesticide Reporting and Information Act.

Dr. Richard L. Humphrey, a leading oncologist for more than 50 years at  Johns Hopkins, noted for the legislators the wide range of cancers that research increasingly links to pesticides:   childhood leukemia, childhood brain cancer, cancer of the pancreas, bladder, colon, prostate, Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, thyroid cancer, breast cancer, renal cell cancer and testicular cell cancer.

Let’s make sure Dr. Humphrey and his colleagues have access to the information they need. Calling is easy and only takes a couple of minutes. Follow this link to see  who your legislators are, and get their phone numbers. They need to hear from you in order to stand up to big business interests!

All you need to do is call and  say is: I’m for this Maryland Pesticide Reporting and Information Act (HB 775 and SB 675) and I want you to vote for it.

Thanks for being part of our team!

Ruth Berlin, L.C.S.W.-C., is founder and Executive Director of the Maryland Pesticide Network. She is also a practicing psychotherapist. She can be reached at

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