A pesticide application took place on Tuesday, April 13. The landscaper hired by the PLHOA lacked all legal qualifications required to apply pesticides in New York State. In fact, this company and its owner do not appear to be qualified in ANY state. The contract written by this company and signed by the PLHOA Board lists false numbers as the company's Pesticide Business Registration and Applicator Certification. The numbers listed are actually the New Jersey DEP numbers of an entirely different company.
What's more, the product applied - a "weed and feed" combination of synthetic fertilizer and herbicide - has as its "active ingredient" Dithiopyr. Dithiopyr is a Restricted Use Pesticide, forbidden for use on Long Island due to its propensity to contaminate groundwater and its toxicity to aquatic organisms.
The fact that a completely unregistered and uncertified company possessed and applied a Restricted Use pesticide contributes to the severity of the violations. As a result of this, the owner of the company is facing a misdemeanor charge, as well as a number of violations of New York State Environmental Conservation Law.
The decision to ignore all legal requirements and to apply a Restricted Use pesticide without any formal training (and incidentally, using these products requires a higher level of Certification than using "General Use" pesticides) can only be described as utterly reckless.
In 2012, New York adopted the “Nutrient Runoff Law” (NYS ECL Section 17-2103) to protect waterways from unnecessary Phosphorous, a leading cause of algae blooms. The law forbids the use of lawn fertilizers containing Phosphorous unless a new lawn is being established or a soil test shows that a lawn lacks Phosphorous.
The contract provided for an application of a sewage-sludge based fertilizer containing 2% Phosphorous on established lawns without a soil test, which would violate the Nutrient Runoff Law.
"Pesticides pose health risks, even when used and applied in full compliance with manufacturers' recommendations and legal requirements."
New York State Attorney General (1999 - 2006)
1) EPA relies on industry-provided studies and is way behind in its own process of periodic re-evaluation of pesticide risks. EPA registration is no guarantee of “safety.” Advertising any pesticide as “safe” or “nontoxic” is a violation of FIFRA (federal law).
2) The “inert” ingredients are kept secret from consumers and may be as toxic or more toxic, in some cases, than the “active” ingredient.
3) EPA only evaluates the effect of one active ingredient at a time. There is no testing of “synergistic” effects (combinations of ingredients or products).
Most importantly, this is an “aesthetic use” – something that has been banned in multiple Canadian provinces and quite a few municipalities in "non pre-emption" states (e.g., Montgomery County MD, South Portland ME, etc.).