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83% of Maryland voters are concerned about the risks of pesticides

The Smart on Pesticides Maryland coalition recently commissioned a poll to learn what Maryland voters’ attitudes towards pesticides are.

Guess what?

It found that a whopping eight out of 10 voters said they are concerned about the risk of pesticides to their families’ health. (I want to meet the two out of 10 who are not concerned!) When informed about the links to chronic illnesses and environmental problems, that number rose to 92 percent.

Plus, we found a large majority of voters in favor of making the reporting of commercial pesticide use mandatory—which it is not currently. Public health experts need this information in order to assess links between illness clusters and pesticide use in our communities.

We know pesticides are dangerous. Scientists have found links between pesticide use and infant leukemia, ADHD, Parkinson’s, disappearing honey bees, breast cancer, and the decimation of the world’s frog population, just to name a few unsavory outcomes.

C’mon, people, they are designed to kill, after all.

So why are we having so much trouble getting a simple online pesticide use reporting bill passed by the Maryland General Assembly?

Why has similar legislation failed every single time it’s been introduced in the Maryland General Assembly?

Sadly, it’s because our legislators have too often been blindsided by the industry they were elected to protect consumers from.

Despite what you may hear from the so-called “Farm Bureau,” the lawn-care industry and the chemical industry, this bill:

    1. Won’t create an additional paperwork burden. Maryland farmers and commercial applicators are already required to keep records of the pesticides they use. This bill simply requires those numbers to be reported to a centralized database. Many farmers contract with someone else to do their pesticide applications. In those cases, farmers aren’t required to do a thing—the applicators would do the reporting.


    1. Won’t cost taxpayers a dime. Chemical manufacturers like Dow, Monsanto, and Bayer already pay an annual per product registration fee--that would be increased to cover the database setup and maintenance costs.

    Industry opposition has killed this safe, sane and not-at-all burdensome bill the three previous times it’s been introduced. Our public health and environmental experts, who are working to protect us, need to know what kinds of toxic substances are in our food, water and air. This bill will provide them with that knowledge.

    Help us pass this common sense bill. Help make a difference. Sign our petition now.

    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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