CCE Awards Representatives for Commitment to Protecting Children’s Health
(Hamden, CT) – Citizens Campaign for the Environment has presented awards to seven members of the CT House of Representatives to recognize their hard work and commitment to protecting children’s health. State Representatives Richard Roy (D, 119), Rep. Philip Miller (D, 36), Rep. Mary Mushinsky (D, 85), Rep. Roberta Willis (D, 64), Rep. Larry Miller (R, 122), Rep. Kim Rose (D, 118), and Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D, 136) were all presented with a plaque of appreciation on behalf of CCE and their members across the state of Connecticut. The awards were given in celebration of the death of HB 5155, which sought to repeal the ban on chemical pesticide use on K-8 school playing fields statewide.
The bill was ‘held’ by the CGA Joint Committee on the Environment earlier in the session, meaning that it would not be called for consideration. CCE applauds the committee leadership and all other members of the General Assembly who stood together in opposition of this short-sighted legislation. Together, they sent a strong message to school districts across the state- Children’s health is a priority in our state, and critical health protections on school grounds will not be undone.
“I am delighted that the general assembly was able to stop the repeal of the law banning the use of chemical lawn care pesticides,” said Rep. Roy, House Co-Chair of the CGA Joint Committee on the Environment. “The health and welfare of our children is far more important than the quick application of poison, which allows the chemical companies to make more money in the short term. I blame [the chemical companies] for continually developing more toxic products for the market and pushing lawn care companies into using them. The result is stronger, more toxin resistant weeds, and a greater threat to the health and well-being of our children.”
The bill generated a strong outcry of public opposition this session, prompting environmental groups and community members across Connecticut to speak out. Almost 2,400 signatures and over 1,000 letters were generated, urging elected officials not to overturn the ban.
“Connecticut residents elect these leaders to make decisions about what is in the best interest of the health and well-being of their constituents,” said Louis Burch, CT Program Coordinator for Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “These legislators have stood firm time and time again, to preserve these protective measures, and we have to give credit where credit is due. Thanks to them, Connecticut families across the state can rest easy, knowing that they don’t have to worry about their children being exposed to toxic chemicals where they learn and play.”
The growing body of peer reviewed scientific evidence indicates that pesticide exposure can adversely affect a child’s neurological, respiratory, immune, and endocrine system, even at low levels. Long-term exposure to pesticides has also been linked to cancer, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Health problems associated with short-term pesticide exposure include acute impacts, such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, seizures and respiratory problems. Researchers have even found that pesticide exposure is linked to asthma, which is the leading cause of school absenteeism due to chronic illness in the nation- accounting for 14 million lost days of school annually.
Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) empowers communities and advocates solutions for our shared environment and public health and is supported by over 80,000 members throughout New York State and Connecticut. www.citizenscampaign.org