Maryland is one of only seven states that allow local governments to enact stronger protections from pesticides. The City of Takoma Park, in its Strategic Plan for 2010-2015, recognizes concern for clean water, and safe neighborhoods and working environments, recommends the “use of alternative, less environmentally damaging products,” and prioritizes protecting the health of its residents. Scientific studies show that pesticide exposures are linked to numerous health and environmental effects. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Academy of Sciences, and the 2010 President’s Cancer Panel have concluded that pesticide exposure is linked to reproductive disorders, birth defects, learning disabilities, neurological disease, endocrine disorders, and cancer. Consequently, the City’s neighbors recently passed laws that restrict pesticide use. Washington, DC enacted the Pesticide Education and Control Amendment Act of 2012 (PDF) which offers protections from restricted use pesticides on public property near waterways, schools, daycare centers and city-owned property. To the East, the Sustainable Land Care Policy of 2011 (PDF) in Greenbelt, MD strictly prohibits the use of synthetic chemical pesticides on all city-owned land. Similarly, most provinces in Canada have also banned the use of cosmetic lawn chemicals, and subsequent studies show a dramatic increase in environmental health. Given the scientific information and using these policies as a guide, the City enacted the Safe Grow Act of 2013 to reduce harmful pesticide use within the City.
What This Means for Homeowners, Businesses, & Other Residential Users
The Safe Grow Act places restrictions on the use of cosmetic pesticides for lawn care on public and private property. Effective March 2014, the City prohibits Commercial Pesticide applicator from applying restricted pesticides for lawn care purposes on private property or public rights-of-way in the City. While, for a property owner or tenant the law will be effective from January 1, 2015.
City of Takoma Park list of restricted pesticides includes pesticide and pesticide products that are known to cause cancer, endocrine disruption, and are identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Canada has having other toxicity characteristics. (List of pesticides that are prohibited for general turf application.) Exceptions exist for the control of certain noxious weeds, invasive species, and for public health pests.
Sustainable management practices result in better outcomes at competitive cost. The City provides information on sustainable lawn care practices and products that can help residents maintain healthy lawns without the use of harmful chemicals.
The online Charter and Code are published on the Code Publishing Company website. The City Clerk's Office has the official version of the Takoma Park Municipal Charter and Code. Users should contact the City Clerk's Office for ordinances passed subsequent to the ordinance cited on the Code Publishing Company website.