Senator Foley Protects Spanish-Speaking Residents from Pesticides

Brian X. Foley

June 08, 2010

Senator Brian X. Foley (D – Blue Point) sponsored legislation (S5531-A), which passed the Senate yesterday, that would require notices relating to lawn pesticides to be printed in both English and Spanish in areas of the state with a significant number of Spanish-speaking residents.

The legislation requires retail establishments which sell pesticides for general use print their signs in both English and Spanish in areas with a significant number of Spanish-speaking residents. It also requires the written notices and lawn markers used to notify the public that pesticides have been applied in an area be printed in both English and Spanish.

“In areas, like my district, where a large number of residents are native Spanish speakers and may be better able to comprehend information presented to them in that language, we have a duty to ensure they are able to receive information that will protect their health and safety,” said Senator Foley. “This legislation will allow all of our residents the opportunity to know where pesticides have been applied so that they may avoid the area and exposure to these harmful toxins.”

“The Hispanic community will be very happy to have this legislation pass,” said David Renderos of the Salvadoran American Alliance of New York. “One of the goals of our organization is to motivate the community to learn English, but there is a need for newcomers to be able to understand the signs so that they can follow the rules and better understand the community they are entering.”

"Measures taken that ensure the health of all – especially our young people – will manifest themselves by producing better and healthier students, who in the long run, will grow to be healthy and productive adults," said Dafny J. Irizarry, President of the Long Island Latino Teachers Association (LILTA).

The companion bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Phil Ramos (D – Brentwood) is currently in the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee. This legislation would take effect 120 days after it is signed into law.