Residents have drafted an ordinance that would amend the City Code to clarify what is meant by the cosmetic use of a pesticide, immediately prohibit the use of cosmetic pesticides on City property, and phase in a public education campaign and restrictions on the use of cosmetic lawn pesticides on private property within the City.
The draft ordinance is available for review: Safe Grow Zone Proposed Ordinance (PDF)
Other background materials provided by Safe Grow Zone proponents are also available for review.
- District of Columbia Pesticide Education and Control Amendment Act of 2012 (PDF)
- Beyond Pesticides blog entry, October 12, 2012, Pesticide Poisonings Spur Legislation Proposal in Utah
- New York Times Article, September 24, 2009, The Grass is Greener at Harvard
- State Preemption Laws: A Beyond Pesticides Factsheet (PDF)
What is a Cosmetic Lawn and Garden Pesticide?
As defined in the draft ordinance, “pesticide refers to any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest. Though often misunderstood to refer only to insecticides, the term also applies to herbicides, fungicides, and various other substances used to control pests.”
The ordinance defines cosmetic use as “a pesticide applied for aesthetic purposes, e.g., to achieve a homogenous appearance in the maintenance of lawn, turf, flowers, and ornamental plants, trees, or shrubs; unnecessary. An infestation of pests (such as clover, grubs, black spot) in these areas does not merit the use of pesticides. Exceptions include pesticides used for the purposes of controlling noxious weeds or to protect human health.”
Register of Restricted Pesticides
Proponents have developed an initial register of restricted pesticides and their associated products. A sampling of these is below. The full list is included in the draft ordinance online.
|2, 4-D||Ortho Max and Weed N’ Feed|
|Bifenthrin||Ortho Bug B Gone Max|
|Dicamba||Ortho Max and Weed N’ Feed|
|Dichlorprop-p Dimethylamine Salt||Scott’s Turf Builder|
|Diquat Dibromide||Spectracide and Roundup|
|Fenoxycarb||Bayer Weed Control|
|Imazethapyr||Ortho Ground Clear|
|Imazipic||Round Up Extended Control|
|Imazipyr||Ortho Ground Clear|
|Propiconazole||Bayer Fungus Control|
|Quinoxyfen, Quinchorac||Ortho Crab Grass|
|Tebuconazole||Bayer Rose and Flower|
|Trichlorfon, Trichloro||Ortho Weed B Gone|
Limits on Use of Pesticides
The proposed ordinance would prohibit the use of cosmetic lawn and garden pesticides by the City. Initially, private property owners would need to provide a specific type of notice if applying pesticides. Eventually, the restrictions would take effect.
The ordinance includes a number of exceptions: for public health or safety; control of noxious weeds; and protection of natural resources, including trees, from invasive species.
Where no alternative exists, other methods of pest control have failed, or when application is mandated by another level of government, the ordinance requires public notice and, in the case of private property owners, a waiver from the City.
Finally, the ordinance would mandate periodic notice of the ordinance as well as a program of education and outreach.