"Use of Toxic Pesticides Stirs Debate on Long Island"

"Back in 1979, an insecticide that Suffolk potato farmers used to kill beetles and roundworms turned up in several private water wells.

Aldicarb is toxic in large doses, and it wasn't supposed to leach into groundwater. But it did. Today, decades after the chemical was banned here, traces still linger in the aquifers that supply local drinking water.

Concern over such persistent pollutants - and their potential effects on health when combined with other contaminants - has spurred new efforts to reduce the volume of pesticides applied to Long Island's lawns, nurseries and farms.

Some advocacy groups are pushing for laws to ban the use of weed killer and other chemicals for purely aesthetic reasons. Others want to outlaw all nonorganic products. At the same time, the state Department of Environmental Conservation is working on a new pesticide management plan, due out later this year, that may impose stricter limits for Long Island on some chemicals now allowed here."

Jennifer Smith reports for Newsday January 3, 2011.
 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011