Senator Martins: Reject Proposed Loosening to Pesticide Reporting Law

Jack M. Martins

March 25, 2014

Senator Jack Martins (R-Mineola) is calling for the final state budget to reject a proposal by Governor Cuomo to loosen regulations which require pesticide use to be reported by zip code.  The Governor’s proposal would eliminate tracking pesticide use by zip code and instead track pesticides only by the county where they are sold.

“Tracking pesticides only by their location of sale is completely inadequate; they won’t be used only in the area in which they are sold.  Knowing where pesticides are being used and in what quantities is critically important, both for scientists and for citizens.  The final budget needs to ensure that we continue tracking pesticides by zip code so that we can improve research and monitor what is happening in our communities,” said Senator Martins. 

The Pesticide Use and Sales Reporting Law requires the reporting of pesticide use and sales data so that the data can be made available to researchers and the public. Making the data available ensures that the public can know about chemicals being applied in their communities.  It also aids in scientific research on the relationships between pesticides and cancer and other diseases.

The Executive’s budget proposal called for eliminating reporting of commercial pesticide applications and dramatically scaling back the amount of data that is made publicly available. Instead, it would track pesticides only by the county in which they are sold.  Because pesticides can be purchased in one location and used in another, the change would dramatically hinder the ability to know where pesticides are being used and in what quantity.  Additionally, only having information on sales makes it impossible to know what happens to any excess pesticides purchased.  Both the Senate and Assembly’s budget proposals rejected the Governor’s proposed changes. Senator Martins fought for the rejection in the Senate’s budget.  

"Several breast cancer advocates affiliated with the New York State Breast Cancer Network had been instrumental in the passage of New York's landmark Pesticide Reporting law. Current proposals to diminish this law would be taking backward steps that could jeopardize public health. Evidence shows that certain pesticides mimic estrogen and have been linked with breast cancer. The New York State breast cancer community finds this very concerning." said Laura Weinberg, President of the Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition and Board Member of the New York State Breast Cancer Network.

“This law was vital to the citizens and medical research community at large.  What was happening in a particular area was instrumental to a physician’s finding out why there may be a number of the same type of disease  on a street or in a small area of a community.  We owe it to our children, because research is important to the next generation.  It took years to get this law accomplished and it set the example for so many other states.  We can’t go back into the dark ages; we need to keep moving forward.  Our communities deserves better,” said Geri Barish, President of 1 in 9: The Long Island Breast Cancer Action Coalition.