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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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May 12, 2004

Contact: Karen Hershey
(609) 984-1795

DEP Calls for Residents to Use Caution When Applying Pesticides
Commercial Applicators to Notify Public Before Large-Scale Spraying

(04/48) Trenton -- With an increase in landscape and gardening activities this spring and summer, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today urged New Jersey's residents to use caution when applying pesticides, and reminded commercial applicators to provide the public advance notice before undertaking large-scale pesticide applications and to notify homeowners on request for small-scale applications.

"Widespread indiscriminate use of pesticides can be harmful to people and to the environment," said Commissioner Campbell. "I encourage all residents to apply pesticides sparingly and explore non-chemical alternatives whenever possible."

Pesticides can be beneficial, but they can also pose risks to human health and the environment if improperly handled. The risk to human health can result from several sources: direct exposure through improper use, residual pesticides on food, and release into the environment from improper storage or disposal. Children and infants are particularly susceptible to pesticide exposure.

The effects of exposure to pesticides include poisoning, eye damage, disruption of the endocrine/hormone system, and respiratory ailments. Numerous studies have linked cancer and asthma to pesticide exposure.

Commissioner Campbell also stressed that homeowners should check the credentials of professional pesticide applicators to ensure that they have valid DEP-issued licenses for both the pesticide applicator and the business. Applicators for weed, termite and household pest controls are licensed through the department's Pesticide Control Program and are required to carry a license when applying pesticides.

For large-scale outdoor pesticide use, such as for gypsy moth or mosquito control, DEP requires the pesticide applicators to place one legal advertisement and one prominent display advertisement in two newspapers circulated in the proposed target area at least seven days before the scheduled application date. Commercial pesticide applicators also are required to give an individual advance notice of a pesticide application if that individual requests it of the applicator. Sign posting on lawns and at public buildings is also required when pesticides are being used.

Some pesticides can also harm plants. A common pesticide called Clopyralid can stunt the growth of certain plants such as tomato, sunflower and bean plants. Clopyralid has been detected in mulch or compost made from grass clippings. Homeowners are urged not to recycle their grass clippings for mulch if they use herbicide products containing Clopyralid. Also, homeowners should not offer grass clippings containing Clopyralid to municipalities for use as mulch.

Residents who suspect pesticide misapplication should call DEP's Bureau of Pesticide Compliance at 609-984-6568 (during off-hours, any suspected environmental violations should be reported to DEP's 24-hour hotline at 1-877-927-6337). For a pesticide health emergency, call the New Jersey Poison Information System at 1-800-222-1222.

DEP posts information on the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices that provide homeowners with effective and economical alternatives to routine pesticide spraying. Through IPM, a combination of pest management methods can be used including biological controls, barriers and simple household remedies like the application of a soap and water solution.

For more information, visit the DEP Pesticide Control Program's website at:




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