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Photo from Friday April 29th 2016, which shows a truck spraying synthetic fertilizers on children playing soccer in a local park. The parents of the children did not know why their kids were coughing during the night. Concerned neighbors to the park forwarded these photos of the bizarre situation after they had expressed their dismay and outrage to the applicators. The fertilizer sprayed was Clesen Turf Fertilizer 24-0-12. Questions remain why they would spray toxic dangerous chemicals on children. Green Minds LFLB believe that our municipalities, park districts and schools have a responsibility for protecting our children from unnecessary exposure to toxic chemicals.
Do You Know You have a right to know?
Illinois Laws requires all schools, day care centers and park districts to let you know if they are spraying, for what, with which product and when at least 48 hours prior to spraying. All you have to do is sign up with your school or park district. Unfortunately, D67 and D115 asks you to re-register with them each year, instead of automatically notifying all parents, as many other districts does. You do not have to be a parent to be notified - concerned students, neighbors, teachers or other residents may also sign up for the list.
You also have a right to know what and when your neighbors landscapers are spraying. If you ask your neighbors landscaper to notify you they MUST do so 24 hours before spraying, and they must tell you which herbicide/pesticide/fertilizer they are applying as well as why.
The law helps neighbors, parents, pet owners and those with asthma or allergies to choose if they want to be exposed to harmful chemicals.
To learn more about 415 ILCS60 The Illinois Pesticide Act and 415 ILCS65 The Lawncare Products and Notification Act click on the links below.
Pesticides refer to chemicals that include herbicides, rodenticides, insecticides, fungicides, etc. There is a significant body of research available on the potential, harmful effects of pesticides on human health, pets, wildlife, watersheds, and drinking water as demonstrated in the most recent and comprehensive systematic review of Pesticide’s Health Effects by the Ontario College of Family Physicians , and Dr. Wargo of Yale University et al report on Risks from Front Lawn-Care pesticides.
Like all environment health outcomes, it is difficult to prove conclusively a cause and effect relationship due to the multifactor influences. In addition, not nearly enough research has focused on how our health and environment is affected by combinations of pesticides. For instance, currently the most frequently used herbicide on our playgrounds and sports turf contains four active ingredients for broadleaf weed control, including 2,4-D and Dicamba. More research is needed on such combinations as well as the effects of the loosely regulated surfactants and other inerts added to pesticides.
Green Minds’ Vision
A community free of unnecessary synthetic pesticides
Green Minds believes in the Precautionary Principle, meaning that as long as there are viable alternatives to pesticides and because questions remain regarding the safety of pesticides, we should at all times err on the side of caution.
Green Minds position is - in light of the lack of evidence regarding the safety of pesticides and reasonable and believable evidence about their risks - that those with a responsibility to protect the health and wellbeing of the community have a duty to explore the safest alternatives for the management of public spaces.
Green Minds propose the following regarding the use of pesticides in Lake Bluff and Lake Forest
Our communities will create a pesticide working group and task it to investigate alternative turf management practices with proven success such as Boulder, CO, Marblehead, MA, City of St. Johns in Canada, Chicago, IL, and Harvard University. Our Parks and Recreation managers will consult with turf managers working for municipalities and educational institutions where pesticide use has been stopped or reduced. The working group will also evaluate current practices, including the total cost of these methods.
Our communities will establish several pilot projects in selected athletic fields and parks where results of alternative practices can be tried and documented. A one-acre playing field at Everett School in Lake Forest is already a pilot project.
Our communities will stop applying pesticides on playgrounds and immediately adjacent areas where children and families play or picnic.
Green Minds asks the communities to develop a timeline to move the Parks Departments as well as private and public schools toward the adoption of natural lawn care practices on sports and other turf. Within two years our communities will substantially reduce the use of the more toxic pesticides on all sports fields by putting into place successful alternative management practices.
Green Minds understands that sometimes pesticides are deemed necessary. In these instances, we ask the community to use only the least toxic pesticides and only as a last resort. Some pesticides which are particularly harmful shall be banned entirely.
The community will launch a community-wide awareness campaign for residents and local businesses explaining alternative turf management practices and the possible dangers to themselves, their neighbors, pets, garden pollinators, wildlife, and our drinking water supply when they apply pesticides. The campaign should educate on pesticide applicators duties to inform and residents’ rights of information in regards to applied pesticides.
Given that all landscapers doing business in our communities must be licensed, a notification mechanism, like the one in the state of Connecticut, will be put in place whereby an abutting neighbor who has requested notification shall be informed 24 hours before pesticides are applied on a neighboring property. A notification system ensures our community is in compliance with Illinois Lawn Care Products Application Notification Act. People who are sensitive to pesticides have a right to be able to make prior arrangements to avoid exposure. Front lawns should have clear signage of adequate size posted for at least 48 hours after pesticide treatment.
It should be mandatory for all schools (private and public), community parks, bike paths, community centers and other places where any children play to notify concerned residents 1 week prior to pesticide application. A school and parks notification system will ensure our compliance with Illinois Lawn Care Products Application & Notification Act. Notification should include what chemicals will be applied and why. Larger, easier-to-read signage should be posted at all entry points and should remain posted for one week after application. The small flags currently in use are inadequate.
 2012 Systematic Review of Pesticide Health Effects, M Sanborn et al, OCFP, 2012
 Risks From Lawn-Care Pesticides, John Wargo,PhD et al., Yale University, EHHI 2003
If you would like to volunteer working on pesticide issues in Lake Forest or Lake Bluff please email email@example.com
Green Minds’ position on pesticide use in Lake Bluff and Lake Forest
In Spring 2015 Green Minds hosted two very succesful workshops
In Winter 2014/15 Green Minds Collected more than 250 signatures from residents who agreed with our vision
In May 2015 Green Minds LFLB was made aware of the pesticide Triplet Low Odor being applied in the Lake Bluff Parks. Triplet Low Odor is labelled "Danger" and thus ranked in the most toxic category. One big concern for Green Minds was it would be applied on Blair Park next to Lake Bluff Elementary School while children in session. After much pressure Lake Bluff Park District eventually on May 18th 2015 agreed to
1. Immediately stop using Triplet Low Odor, and switch to something in the "Caution" category.
2. If possible, spray only on days children are not in school.
3. Close parks the day of spraying (with caution tape all around) and notify schools to make sure children are not in spray areas.
4. Observe the green minds pilot plot of land (when that is started) for future ideas for weed control.
Please follow this link to our letter to the editor published in Daily Northshore and the follow up from the Daily Northshore:
In September 2017 Green Minds LFLB was made aware that D67 and D115 was applying the toxic herbicide Battleship III. Members mobilized and D67 and D115 agreed to stop all applications until further research on safe herbicides.
In March 2019 Green Minds LFLB learned that D67 was going to spray all district schools for ant problems. We learned that it was odorous ants, and they had only been a problem in a few locations DPM East. D67 was going to spray Taurus SC. The active ingredient is Fipronil a highly toxic chemical killing birds and wildlife.
Green Minds LFLB requested that D67 follow IPM protocol and first try the least toxic methods such as baiting and cleaning the areas. Secondly not to spray all schools but only the affected areas, preferably with organic or natural insecticides that does not harm wildlife.
In May 2019 Green Minds LFLB learned that D67 and D115 was going to spray all schools with the herbicide Trupower and the fertilizer Dimention. Trupower is in the most toxic herbicide category carrying the signal word DANGER. Some of the main ingredients in the chosen herbicide are 2,4-d and Dicambra. Green Minds LFLB members mobilized and D67 and D115 have stopped all applications until further research has been made. Following the research D67 and D115 announced in Summer 2019 that they would convert to only using organic lawn products! Thank you D67 and D115 for protecting our students.