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Group For The East End Urges DEC To Ban Pesticides Found In Groundwater

Originally Posted: January 16, 2012

A total of 123 pesticides have been detected by the DEC in drinking water wells on Long Island. (Courtesy Photo: Group for the East End)

Southold - The Group for the East End joined with over 20 organizations from the environmental and health communities to protect Long Island's drinking water supply. These groups are urging the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to use its legal authority to ban the three pesticides that are most prevalent in Long Island's drinking water supply.

These toxic chemicals are making their way into the underground water supply or into our local surface waters, posing threats to the health of humans and animals. The solution is clear - ban the most harmful pesticides and create a plan to eliminate all pesticides from Long Island's drinking water supply. The DEC has legal authority to adopt a zero tolerance policy for pesticides in groundwater within the Long Island Pesticide Use Management Plan, and environmental advocates are calling for action. A letter of comment on the DEC's most recent plan was submitted by all groups on January 6, 2012.

"The science of pesticide development and standards for application must evolve over time if we are serious about protecting human and environmental health, and creating a safe and sustainable agricultural future for Long Island," said Bob DeLuca, President of Group for the East End.

A total of 123 pesticides have been detected by the DEC in drinking water wells on Long Island. Among the most prevalent and toxic are atrazine, metalaxyl, and imidacloprid. Though it was banned in Europe, atrazine is one of the most widely used herbicides in the U.S. and has been linked to cancer. Metalaxyl is a fungicide that can cause kidney and liver damage, and it is toxic to birds. Imidacloprid, a chemical that is toxic to fish and shellfish, is found in many common products for lawns, pets, and in households. This chemical has been found in wells clustered throughout the North Fork of Long Island, with some wells revealing imadacloprid in concentrations that exceed drinking water standards by 800 percent.

"When the pesticide Temik was found in over 1,000 Long Island wells in 1979, we learned that local conditions can have a major impact on the fate of pesticides in our environment," said DeLuca. "Today, we face a rising level of new pesticide threats to Long Island's drinking water and we must confront these threats with the same conviction that got Temik out of the local market nearly 35 years ago."

Organizations involved in this endeavor include ABCO, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Friends of the Bay, Group for the East End, Sierra Club LI Group, Long Island Pine Barrens Society, and Sustainability Institute at Molloy College.

Group for the East End protects and restores the environment of eastern Long Island through education, citizen action, and professional advocacy.

For more information, click here.

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