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Pesticides Found in New York Drinking Water

January 12, 2012

Yesterday, on Long Island, New York, a group of 23 environmental groups demanded that state regulators ban the top three pesticides found in local drinking water as state guidelines on pesticide management are up for review.

The groups, citing state groundwater studies in a letter to the state Department of environmental Conservation, took note of the "alarming" prominence of the three pesticides in drinking water. They want the DEC to enact a zero-tolerance policy for all pesticides in drinking water as the agency adopts a pesticide-use management plan for the region.

The three chemicals, atrazine, metalaxyl and imidacloprid, are used on farms, golf courses and, in some cases, home gardens and lawns to kill bugs, weeds and fungus. State drinking water tests show they have turned up thousands of times in tests of public and private drinking water wells in the past decade, most on the East End, where agriculture is more common.

The environmental groups said the pesticides have been tied to health problems, including kidney and neurological effects, and can leach into waterways and kill wildlife. They are among the more than 120 pesticides that showed up in recent drinking water tests.

"This is not about restricting choices, it’s about protecting drinking water," said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, a Farmingdale group. Dick Amper, executive director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, said the prominence of the chemicals was unacceptable and vowed to get results.

Joe Gergela, executive director of the Long Island Farm Bureau, called zero tolerance "an extreme point of view and not achievable." He said chemicals from nearly all industries, from dry cleaners to gasoline stations, show up in some trace amounts in groundwater.

Gergela said local farmers are working with the DEC on the pesticide standards. Farmers are also working to limit or end the use of pesticides deemed unhealthy.

Maid Brigade House Cleaning Services cares about our environment and health of you and your family.  For more information on healthy green living and green cleaning, please log on to greencleancertified.com and maidbrigade.com.  Watch our video on achieving work/life balance at greencleancertified.com/greentv.  To learn more about the hidden allergy and asthma triggers in your home, log on to greencleancertified.com/greentv.

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