Serrano Environmental Bills Pass New York State Legislature

José M. Serrano

July 23, 2020

Legislation to Ban the Herbicide Glyphosate and to Require Bilingual Signage for Pesticide Warnings Passes New York State Senate and Assembly

Banning Glyphosate on State Property

The New York State Legislature passed a bill (A.732-B/S.6502) sponsored by Senator José M. Serrano and Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal to ban the use of the herbicide glyphosate on State property. The chemical is an active ingredient in many common weed killer products and is widely used to kill weeds in parks, playgrounds and picnic areas.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization (WHO), the world’s leading authority on cancer, declared that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen in 2015. In addition, leading health experts and academic research institutions have linked glyphosate to heightened risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, increased growth of breast cancer cells, kidney ailments and other negative health impacts. Several countries around the world have initiated comprehensive Glyphosate restrictions including Germany, Italy and Austria, while a growing number of jurisdictions in the United States including Los Angeles, Seattle and Miami have banned applications on public lands.

“Our parks, playgrounds and picnic areas are an oasis for New Yorkers, and have particularly become safe havens during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Senator Serrano. “It’s important that we protect the health and safety of workers, families, and pets by proactively eliminating the use of potentially harmful chemicals like glyphosate in our public spaces, and by finding safe alternatives that won’t risk the health of New Yorkers and our environment. Many thanks to Assembly sponsor Linda Rosenthal, Senate Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Todd Kaminsky, and the environmental advocacy groups for their efforts in passing this bill."

The bill awaits Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature.

Language Diversity in Pesticide Signage

The Legislature also passed a bill (S.5579a/A.5169) sponsored by Senator Serrano and Assemblymember Phil Ramos that when signed into law will require that written notices, signs and markers informing the public of pesticides for commercial and residential lawn application be printed in both English and Spanish, as well as any other languages relevant to the local population.

“It’s critical that all New Yorkers are aware of any warnings regarding pesticide use and application in their neighborhoods,” said Senator Serrano. “Today’s actions will require these warnings to be posted in Spanish and other languages, so that every resident can be adequately informed of pesticide use in their communities and take steps to ensure the health and safety of their loved ones.”