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For Immediate Release
January 16, 2013
Contact: Dawn Stoltzfus, The Hatcher Group, 410-562-5655
Chris Trumbauer, West/Rhode Riverkeeper, 410-279-7577
Ruth Berlin, Maryland Pesticide Network, 410-693-7319
(Annapolis, MD) – Statewide polling released today found that eight in 10 voters are concerned about the risk of pesticides to their families’ health and a large majority favor making commercial pesticide use reporting mandatory.
The Smart on Pesticides Maryland coalition, which commissioned the polling by a leading state pollster, is advocating for a cost-neutral pesticide use reporting bill to be introduced in the 2013 Maryland General Assembly legislative session. The Pesticide Information Act would require pesticide applicators, as well as sellers of restricted use pesticides, to report information they are already required to maintain. Homeowners would not be affected.
A full 83 percent of surveyed Maryland voters said they are concerned about the health risks of pesticides. Concern about pesticides is most acute among African-American voters (92 percent concerned) and women (89 percent concerned). When informed about the links to chronic illnesses and environmental problems, the number of concerned Marylanders grew to 92 percent.
“Marylanders have come to expect accountability and transparency. For years, industry lobbyists have defeated attempts to give the researchers and public health experts basic information on commercial pesticide use,” said Chris Trumbauer, the West/Rhode Riverkeeper.
“These strikingly strong polling results show the high level of concern about pesticides from average Marylanders, who believe it’s time for our leaders to stand up for healthy families and safe water this year and pass the Pesticide Information Act.”
Making pesticide use reporting mandatory is overwhelmingly supported by 82 percent of Maryland voters. Support for mandatory pesticide reporting is high even in agricultural areas such as the Eastern Shore (77 percent) and Southern Maryland (76 percent). A wide majority, 70 percent, also favors charging chemical manufacturers a higher product registration fee comparable with surrounding states “to cover the costs of a modern pesticide reporting database.”
“This Maryland voter poll shows very deep concern about pesticides among the voting public,” said Steve Raabe, of OpinionWorks, the Annapolis polling firm that did the survey. “More than eight voters in ten are concerned about the impact pesticides might have on their own health, with a near-majority very concerned. When informed of several specific risks, concern climbs much higher.”
“This extraordinary level of concern translates into a strong public appetite for better information about pesticide use. By wide margins, voters support making pesticide tracking mandatory, and charging manufacturers a higher fee to pay for a modern tracking system.”
The representative telephone sample of 800 Maryland registered voters was conducted Dec. 28, 2012 – Jan. 2, 2013 by OpinionWorks with a maximum sampling error ± 3.5 percent. Read the full polling memo here.
The Pesticide Information Act would create a centralized, online pesticide reporting database accessible to public health and environmental officials. System setup and maintenance costs would be covered by a modest increase in existing registration fees borne by chemical manufacturers. The bill is one of the environmental community’s priority legislation for the 2013 General Assembly session.
The Smart on Pesticides Maryland – For Safe Waters & Healthy Kids campaign is a coalition of concerned Maryland citizens working to pass legislation creating a simple and cost-neutral, centralized online pesticide reporting database in 2013.
Smart on Pesticides is part of the Pesticides and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Project, which was established in 2007 by the Maryland Pesticide Network and the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. It is the first working group in Maryland dedicated to reducing the occurrence and risks of pesticides in the Bay watershed, in order to protect water quality, aquatic life, wildlife and public health. Project participants include scientists, public health experts, waterkeepers, watermen, representatives of the agricultural and pest management industries, and environmental organizations.
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Maryland Pesticide Network
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