Anne Arundel Council Considers Playground Pesticide Ban

A Capital Gazette article (2016-10-29) reported that the Anne Arundel County Council is considering a bill that would prohibit the spraying of pesticides and herbicides on playgrounds. From the article:

Bill 76-16 instead would require alternative methods for killing weeds and pests on playgrounds, such as weeding by hand.

“I’d rather tolerate a couple weeds on a playground than have to deal with toxic pesticides there,” [Councilman and bill sponsor Chris] Trumbauer said.

The bill contains an emergency provision — so, he said, “if there’s a hornet’s nest or some sort of giant Venus flytrap that could eat children, they could use pesticides” to handle the problem.

The article noted that both the County’s recreation and parks department and County Executive Steve Schuh had concerns with the legislation:

Chris Carroll, chief of operations for the northern county parks, said department staff already struggle to keep up with a 21-day mowing cycle for county land. …

Carroll said any pesticide spraying on playgrounds is targeted and used as a “last resort.” The council passed an integrated pest management plan in 2013, which instructs county officials to use pesticides only after exhausting non-toxic options. Pesticides can only be applied at certain times, during certain weather conditions and only after posting notice. …

“We are not out every week blasting playgrounds with chemicals,” he said.

Schuh’s opposition to the bill dealt with both its definitions and potential costs:

According to Owen McEvoy, a spokesman for County Executive Steve Schuh, the county’s Office of Law has said the bill’s definition of playgrounds could be interpreted to include sports fields and baseball diamonds, as well.

McEvoy said the Schuh administration opposes the bill, which he called “overly broad and very expensive to implement.”

The article stated that Trumbauer is working on an amendment clarifying that the bill would only apply to playgrounds. The bill will have a public hearing at the County Council’s meeting on November 7.

Useful Links

Prior Conduit Street Coverage of Pesticide Issues