Last month, the newly formed Napa County Chapter of Moms Advocating Sustainability (MOMAS) held a workshop entitled “Pesticides & Herbicides and The Effects on Children”. The people invited to attend were school district maintenance supervisors, parks department directors, city council members, county supervisors and school board trustees, all from throughout the county. The speakers were Dr. Myrto Ashe MD, a physician with a Masters Degree in Public Health and Kristin Schafer, policy director for Pesticide Action Network North America. The workshop was well attended; people were engaged and stayed afterward to discuss ideas.
The purpose of the workshop was to report on the increasing amount of scientific data linking pesticides and herbicides to childhood cancers (predominantly brain tumors and leukemia), autism, ADHD, decreased cognitive function and behavioral disorders to name a few. Children are uniquely vulnerable to the toxicity of pesticides and herbicides as their bodies and brains develop. The worst part about the data is that many disease trends among children are continuing to rise to very concerning levels.
Many school districts and cities around the U.S., Canada and Europe have put into place strict Integrated Pest Management Ordinances and Policies (IPM’s) that either ban or limit use of these toxins in areas where children frequent. In the Bay Area, Marin County has in place what has been called the “gold standard” of IPM Policies. San Mateo & Contra Costa Counties are also in the process of making changes. MOMAS’ Napa Chapter will be reaching out to the departments in our county to provide assistance, resources and/or consultation from our organization or the other organizations that we partner with. Part of the education process includes providing alternative solutions, which we can help with. We are also hoping that the departments in our county reach out to other parks departments & school districts that have put successful alternatives in place, with the ultimate goal of having “pesticide & herbicide free zones” in and around places where children play. These pesticides and herbicides, wherever they are used, ultimately find their way into our water, our air, our homes and our bodies, including breast milk.
The City of American Canyon is in the process of looking at ways changes can be made in its community. At the March 18th City Council meeting, Councilmember Mark Joseph asked for a staff report to be prepared regarding stricter uses. Creighton Wright, the City’s Parks & Rec director has completed the report and will present it at the next City Council meeting on May 6th.
Our next goal is to educate parents. Many parents are unaware of how toxic the average household pesticides and herbicides are to their children. We may also need their support, if the cities and school districts continue their practices as usual. Please take the time to do some research and for more information on Moms Advocating Sustainability, please visit momas1.wpengine.com