This is from the New York Attorney General's site

CITIZENS' GUIDE TO PESTICIDE NOTIFICATION LAWS IN NEW YORK STATE

November 2000

Why is Pesticide Notification Important?

New Yorkers are becoming increasingly concerned about the impacts of pesticides on human health and natural resources. Pesticides are chemical or biological substances designed to kill, control or repel a variety of living organisms, such as insects (insecticides), weeds (herbicides), mold or fungus (fungicides) and rodents (rodenticides). They are poisons, and their use is regulated by both the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The fact that a pesticide is registered by the EPA does not mean that it is safe; it simply means that standards have been established to minimize the risks associated with its use. Many widely-used pesticides were registered many years ago under less stringent standards than are used today. They can pose health risks, even when used and applied in full compliance with manufacturers' recommendations and legal requirements.

Large amounts of pesticides are being applied every year in New York. In 1998, DEC reported that 4.5 million gallons and 29.4 million pounds of pesticides were applied by commercial applicators and sold to farmers statewide. To find out the quantity and types of pesticides used in a particular county you can access the state database at the Cornell website: http://pmep.cce.cornell.edu/regulation/psur.

Several pesticides commonly used in lawn care are classified as probable or possible carcinogens by the EPA. Some of these and other pesticides are associated with a variety of other health problems including damage to the liver, kidneys, and nervous and endocrine systems, and acute skin irritation and respiratory distress. Infants and young children, whose body systems are still developing, are particularly susceptible to these risks, as are pregnant women and the elderly and infirm. Inadvertent exposure to pesticides can occur when they are applied without notice on neighboring properties, or in apartment buildings, schools or daycare centers. To limit the likelihood of inadvertent exposure and the resulting health risks, a number of state laws now require that individuals be notified when pesticides are being applied in these areas.

Since the 1980's, commercial pesticide applicators have been subject to certain contractual and notification requirements. (See section below entitled "Other Requirements for Commercial Applications of Pesticides.") "Commercial applicators" includes all businesses and individuals who apply pesticides for hire, such as lawn care companies, exterminators and groundskeepers. They are distinguished from "residential" applications, where an individual applies pesticides to his or her own residence or grounds. Agricultural pesticide applications are exempt from state pesticide notification requirements. In 2000, after many years of public debate, legislation was enacted (chapter 285 of the Laws of 2000) requiring notice of pesticide applications in schools and daycare centers, and providing counties with the option of requiring advance notification to neighbors before both commercial and residential applications of lawn care pesticides.

"Neighbor Notification" for Lawn Applications

The new state legislation authorizes counties and New York City to adopt local laws that establish significant new notification requirements for commercial and residential lawn applications (agricultural, golf course and turf farm applications are excluded). If a county "opts-in" and adopts such a law:

Commercial applicators must provide 48 hours' advance written notice to occupants of neighboring dwellings with property lines within 150 feet of the application. In the case of apartment buildings, notice must be given to the owner or owners' agent, who must in turn provide advance notice to the residents of the building. Environmental Conservation Law ("ECL") 33-1004(1)(b). The notice must at a minimum provide the following information:

the address of the premises where the pesticide is being applied;

the name, telephone number and pesticide business registration number or certified applicator number of the pesticide applicator;

the specific date and two rain dates for each application;

the name(s) and EPA registration number(s) of the pesticide(s) being applied; and a prominent statement suggesting the recipient take precautions to minimize exposure and providing the telephone numbers of pesticide information lines to obtain information about the pesticide being applied. ECL 33-1005(3). Commercial applicators are subject to substantial fines and criminal prosecution for violations of these requirements. ECL 71-2907.

The above requirements do not apply to:

applications of anti-microbial products (disinfectants), biopesticides or substances exempt from federal pesticide regulation;

use of pesticides in aerosol cans for personal protection;

use of bait in tamper-resistant containers;

granular applications;

spot applications of less than 9 square feet;

applications by direct injection;

use of boric acid or horticultural nonsynthetic soaps and oils;

applications in cemeteries; and

emergency applications to protect against an imminent threat to human health (which must be immediately reported to the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health).

Persons applying pesticides on their own property to an area greater than 100 square feet must place visible markers along the perimeter on the day of application with notices to warn others that pesticides have been applied and not to remove the markers for 24 hours. ECL 1004(1)(c). This provides warning for people to avoid the treated area and keep their children and pets away.

Retail stores selling pesticides must post a sign warning customers to follow label directions, informing them of the posting requirements, and recommending that they notify their neighbors before the application. ECL 1004(1)(a).

It is important to note that the above requirements only apply in counties that have adopted a local law to implement them. If your county has not adopted such a law, you may wish to contact your county legislators and encourage them to do so. A list of the chairs of all the county legislatures and a model local law to implement these new requirements are printed at the end of this guide. The local law must follow the language of the state law exactly. This is because pesticide regulation has been held to be a matter for state control, and an area in which local governments cannot act except as specifically authorized by the state.

Other Requirements for Commercial Applications of Pesticides

Existing law requires anyone who engages in the commercial application of pesticides to be certified by the DEC. ECL 33-0905(1). Violation of any statute or regulation governing pesticide applications can subject a certified applicator to revocation of his or her certification and penalties. ECL 33-0909(1). With respect to commercial lawn applications, ECL 33-1001 and 1003 require applicators to:

Enter into a written contract with the owner of the property on which pesticides are to be applied, specifying the approximate date or dates of application, the number of applications, and the cost; a list of the pesticides to be applied; and any warnings regarding human or animal health or the environment that appear on the pesticide labels. Verbal agreements between an applicator and homeowner are not acceptable.

Notify the owner if the date of application needs to be changed, and obtain the owner's acceptance of the new application date.

Place clearly visible markers along the perimeter of application areas on the day of application, with notices instructing people not to enter the area or remove the markers for 24 hours.

With respect to indoor or outdoor applications on residential premises, ECL 33-0905(5) imposes the following notice requirements: 

When pesticides are applied in or on the premises of a one- or two-family dwelling, the applicator must, prior to the application, provide the occupants with a written copy of the information and warnings included on the label of the pesticide to be applied.

When pesticides are applied in a multiple dwelling or nonresidential building, the applicator must, prior to the application, provide to the owner of the building or the owner's agent, a written copy of the information and warnings included on the label of the pesticide to be applied. The owner or agent must provide this information to the occupants of the building at reasonable times upon request. Where a resident of an apartment building retains an applicator to apply pesticides in the resident's apartment, the applicator must provide the same information to the occupants of the apartment prior to the application. State law does not require landlords to give prior notification to tenants prior to pesticide applications. However, a tenant is free to request prior notification and may be able to obtain such a requirement as a term of his or her lease.

Notification of Pesticide Applications in Schools

The school must provide written notice to staff and parents or guardians, at the beginning of each school year (or within one week of a student's enrollment), informing them that:

pesticides may be used at school facilities or on school grounds throughout the school year;

the school is required to maintain a list of staff and parents who wish to receive 48 hours' advance written notice of pesticide applications, with instructions on how to register to receive such notice; and

inquiries for more information should be directed to a particular school contact person at a specified telephone number.

Three times a year, following winter and spring recesses and the end of the school year, the school must provide written notice to all staff and parents informing them of the date, location and product used for each pesticide application at the school since the last notice. This notice must again state that the school is required to maintain a list of staff and parents who wish to receive 48 hours' advance written notice of pesticide applications, provide information on how to register for such notice and how to obtain more information about the pesticides used, and provide the name and number of a school contact.

At least 48 hours prior to the application of a pesticide at a school facility, the school must provide written notice to those who have requested it, including the specific date of application and two rain dates, if applicable, and the product name and EPA registration number of the pesticide being applied. The notice must contain language encouraging the parent to discuss with the school representative the precautions being taken to protect children from exposure, the name and number of the school representative, and the numbers of pesticide information services that can provide information and warnings from the labels of the pesticides being applied.

The prior notice requirements do not apply to:

applications of anti-microbial products (disinfectants), biopesticides or substances exempt from federal pesticide regulation;

use of pesticides in aerosol cans for personal protection;

use of nonvolatile rodent and insect baits in tamper-resistant containers or areas inaccessible to children;

use of silica gels and other nonvolatile ready-to-use paste foam or gel insecticides in areas inaccessible to children;

use of boric acid and related compounds;

emergency applications to protect against an imminent threat to human health (which must be immediately reported to the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health); and

applications after which the facility will be unoccupied for at least 72 hours.

The State Education Commissioner is required to establish a procedure for parents to notify the state of any school's failure to comply with these requirements, and school aid can be withheld where a school is found not to have complied.

At the end of this Guide is a sample letter to send to the principal of your child's school requesting 48-hour advance notice of pesticide applications at the school. You can photocopy this sample letter, including the appropriate information, and mail it to your school, or compose your own letter.

Notice of Pesticide Applications in Daycare Centers

The legislation enacted in 2000 added the following notification requirements, Social Services Law 390-c, applicable to daycare centers:

At least 48 hours prior to a pesticide application, a notice must be posted in a common area that is conspicuously visible to persons dropping off or picking up children.

The notice must include the date and location of the application and, in the case of outdoor applications, two rain dates; the name and EPA registration number of the product being applied; a statement encouraging parents to discuss with a facility representative the precautions being taken to protect children from exposure; telephone numbers of pesticide information lines to obtain more information about the pesticides being applied; and the name and number of the facility representative.

The prior notice requirements do not apply to:

applications of anti-microbial products (disinfectants), biopesticides or substances exempt from federal pesticide regulation;

use of pesticides in aerosol cans for personal protection;

use of nonvolatile rodent and insect baits in tamper-resistant containers or areas inaccessible to children;

use of silica gels and other nonvolatile ready-to-use paste foam or gel insecticides in areas inaccessible to children;

use of boric acid and related compounds;

emergency applications to protect against an imminent threat to human health (which must be immediately reported to the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health); and

applications after which the facility will be unoccupied for at least 72 hours.

Sample Letter to Request Notification of School Pesticide Application

[Date]

[Address of School]

 Dear Principal ___________: 

I am the parent [or guardian] of __________________ [name(s) of student(s)], who attend(s) __________________ School in the ____ grade[s]. It is my understanding that, starting July 1, 2001, a new state law will require every school to maintain a list of parents who wish to receive advance notice of pesticide applications at the school their child attends. Each time pesticides are scheduled to be applied at the school, parents on the list must be provided with a written notice at least 48 hours in advance specifying the specific date and location of the application, the name and EPA registration number of the product being applied, the name and number of a person at the school who can be contacted to discuss the precautions being taken to protect children from exposure, and telephone numbers of information services that can provide specific information about the pesticides being applied.

Please consider this my formal request to be placed on the list to receive those notices and information. If the notices are to be mailed, please mail them to me at the following address:

_______________________________

_______________________________

_______________________________ 

I can be reached by telephone at the following numbers:

______________________ (day)

______________________ (evening)

Sincerely,

___________________________

Signature of parent or guardian




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