County in Maryland bans pesticide use

October 8, 2015 -  By

Montgomery County, Md., became the first major locality in the U.S. to ban the use of cosmetic pesticides on private lawns, the Washington Post reports. The ban goes into effect in 2018.

The County Council voted 6-to-3 to prohibit use of the chemicals after a public debate Oct. 6.

The ban does not establish a method or unit to enforce the law, and it will rely on citizen complaints. It excludes agricultural land, gardens and golf courses and does not prohibit the sale of pesticides within the county.

“I believe we are acting in the interests of public health today,” Council President George Leventhal (D-At-Large) told the Post. Leventhal is the bill’s chief sponsor and introduced the measure last year.

Additionally, the county’s approximately 300 athletic fields are exempt from the pesticide ban, though the bill designates five fields for an organic product pilot program. The bill also tasks the county’s parks department to create a plan to make all athletic fields pesticide free by 2020.

Green Industry associations, like Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE) and National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), oppose the ban.

“Lawmakers have spent nearly two years on a bill that provides no benefit to the citizens of Montgomery County,” said Karen Reardon, RISE vice president of public affairs, in a statement. “This bill is so extreme that it’s unenforceable.”

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