Our co-founder, Kathleen Hallal shares her thoughts on why CA Bill AB 468, the Children's School Environment Act is needed.
Kathleen was an original founding member of a citizen's group that helped implement a landmark organic policy in Irvine, California. She co-founded Non Toxic Communities in 2016 to take her advocacy for organic land care to other cities, schools, and HOAs. Now, Kathleen is leading the charge in her home state to protect children from pesticides on school grounds.
Why shouldn’t we have a statewide organic policy throughout our state? Connecticut has one. New York has one. Why not CA? Aren’t we supposed to be the “progressive state”? Really, it’s time for everyone to look around and start asking questions. Who decided that our tax dollars should be spent on pesticides that might seem more convenient, but are not great for anyone’s health? I think the recent landmark lawsuit won by Dwayne “Lee” Johnson really brought this issue to the forefront. Two important realizations came out of that suit. The first thing was that Roundup, which is casually being used everywhere from our parks to our food supply, can cause cancer. The second thing, and something that is even more fascinating, was seeing Monsanto’s own correspondence showing clearly how they go about “buying” science, and even influencing regulators.
In light of that information, clear as day for all to see, how can anyone continue to use glyphosate, or any other toxic products, around children? What is boils down to is this: Why are we using toxins around our youth for aesthetic purposes when we don’t have to? In study after study, epidemiologists are stating that it is startlingly clear that even tiny exposures to chemicals typically used in school yards are having a detrimental effect on children’s health and learning abilities.
Hence this bill, authored by the Honorable Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, who represents California’s 66th District. AB 468 is sponsored by The California Guild, and it is co-sponsored by Non Toxic Communities and Beyond Pesticides. Assemblyman Muratsuchi is representing an issue that his constituents have brought forward. In other words, he cares, and he is standing up to do something to protect kids! Modeled on Irvine’s successful policy implemented over the past three years, the bill quite reasonably asks for organic practices to be employed for all maintenance needs. There is an exception for which stronger chemicals may be used in case of an emergency if children’s lives are endangered. But just for your standard dandelions? It’s a no go.
A lot of people thought it might be a good idea to simply ban glyphosate. But the problem with that is that the next day a toxic cousin like glufosinate could be substituted, and all of the other toxic products currently employed by most districts would just continue on. No, what needs to be done here is to have a completely new approach. One that puts the health of the children, and not necessarily “convenience,” first. This is a whole new mindset.
Costs are about the same: districts buy less product but pay for a few more hours of work. There are significant water savings. But most importantly, such practices help to preserve children’s health. Can anyone put a price on that? Let’s stop applying toxins where children play!