Communities in Action
Making Maine Schools Safe For Our Kids : Maine residents take action to make Maine fields and grasses safe
At Toxics Action Center, we believe children deserve to be able to play outdoors without being exposed to dangerous chemicals. To that end, over the last several years, Toxics Action Center has worked with a number of communities across New England to curb toxic pesticide use.
In Maine, many communities are waking up to the fact that pesticides are designed to kill and can harm more than just weeds and bugs. In fact, almost half of the most commonly used pesticides have now been linked to cancers. Children are the most vulnerable to these toxics, as their bodies are still developing. Now, in more than a dozen towns, residents are working to pass policies that protect kids and families from pesticides.
The latest victory took place in Scarborough, Maine, where the group Citizens for a Green Scarborough passed a policy through their town council to ban the use of toxic pesticides on town-owned lawns, including athletic and playing fields. This is a big step forward for protecting public health in Scarborough, but the policy came under attack this past spring. Fortunately, the group successfully defended their victory, and now Citizens for a Green Scarborough are continuing their outreach campaign to educate neighbors about going pesticide-free on their own lawns.
Last year, community groups across the State like Citizens for a Green Scarborough, Lawns for Lobsters, Citizens for a Green Camden and others joined together to make a statewide impact. Together, we are working to ban pesticides on school grounds across the state of Maine. No children should have to play sports on a field treated with toxic pesticides or have recess on pesticide-laden playgrounds, and we have a chance to make that vision a reality. Over the past summer, our citizen outreach team in Portland talked to thousands of Mainers about our campaign for making toxic-free lawns a state-wide policy, and the support we heard from the public was overwhelming. Hundreds of house- holds signed a pledge to go pesticide-free on their own lawns.
This fall we will be working to identify supportive educators, coaches, athletic directors and organic landscapers to build up the power we need to convince the legislature to take action on this important issue. States like New York and Connecticut have already restricted use of pesticides on school lawns. In Maine, we know that if we can demonstrate widespread support from the educational community, parents and health professionals, we will effectively make the case that schools should be pesticide-free.
If you would like to sign on to our Maine Safe School Grounds Campaign coalition, contact out Maine Organizer Tracie Konopinkski, at email@example.com
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