Friday, February 25, 2011




There are three important bills in the Maryland legislature, aimed at protecting citizens from dangerous chemicals and pesticides.  There is a good chance that if the legislators listed below are willing to support the bills, they will pass.  There is some urgency as hearings will be heard on Wednesday, March 2. 


Below is a short description of each bill and the delegates to contact.  Also below is the proposal for clean drinking water legislation in MD information sheet. Let me know if you do contact a legislator the response.







1.  HB659 - Ban on use of Atrazine - an ag residue in MD drinking water linked to endocrine disruption, breast, prostate and other cancers.  Clearly, there are many alternatives for farmers to this outmoded herbicide which is linked to the health of the entire population.  Its use should be stopped.


2.  HB660 - Pesticide Notification - Records chemicals farmers currently use into a central database.  Gives us better insight into exactly how much farm chemicals are entering our environment and linked to our health.


3.  HB754 - Arsenic Prohibition - Prohibits the use of this dangerous and cancer causing additive to poultry feed.  Used by the industry to faster growth and for pinker meat.  Its use must be ended.


Here are the most crucial (undecided) folks to call:


1.  Delegate Maggie McIntosh (D-Balt. City D-43).  Committee chair, House Environmental Matters Committee 410 841-3990


2.  Del James Malone (D-Balt City, D-45) 410 841-3378


3.  Del Cheryl Glenn (D-45, Balt. City) 410 841-3257


4.  Del Stephen Lafferty (D-42, Balt County) 410 841-3487


5.  Del Pamela Beidle  (D-32, Ann Arundel Co) 410 841-3370



By Michael Tabor


      So why is it that we’re constantly reading about contaminated drinking water in the Chesapeake Bay region? Recently, articles about lead, chromium and gender bender chemicals like atrazine found in our drinking water give us pause and wonderment.  Why isn’t “the government” protecting us?  And, why do we drink bottled water thinking we’re safe?  (We are not safe!)


Worse still, our state and Federal government seems reluctant to pass legislation protecting us.  Plus, many environmental groups, tired of seeing legislation stopped in committee, won’t even prioritize the legislation. 


To a great extent, it’s about the powerful farm lobby – the Farm Bureau Federation and its state affiliates.


Locally, the well-respected Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) trying to work with the Farm Bureau for years, finally lost their patience when the Farm Bureau filed a lawsuit trying to block EPA’s attempt to clean the Bay.  CBF labeled them a “high-powered lobbying group intent on misrepresenting the facts and frustrating the process of cleaning up the bay and its rivers, contrary to the wishes of many of its members.”


There are a host of chemical pesticides used on our farms, lawns, orchards and gardens --virtually all are linked to cancer and endocrine disruption, birth defects, liver and kidney damage, neurotoxicity and behavioral problems.  Plus there are links to Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, structural and chemical changes in the brain, heart, liver, kidney, ovaries and endocrine organs.


The irony is that farmers and their families, rural communities and ag workers are at increased risk of these health problems.  And the farm lobby, much more interested in protecting large-scale ag interests and pesticide manufacturers, doesn’t even admit that problems exist.  Instead, they threaten increased prices for farm goods, loss of jobs, farmers being forced to move, and whatever other fear-mongering thoughts they can conjure up.


If there’s to be legislation, we must encourage our MD delegates and senators to work on it.  And, Gov. O’Malley has to stand up to the farm lobby and act on our behalf.


For more information on proposed legislation:




Atrazine:  Number one pesticide by volume in the US.  “The most commonly detected pesticide contaminant of ground, surface and drinking water.” Found in all 60 tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay (by the US Geological Survey – USGS) and in our drinking and bottled water.  EPA classifies Atrazine as a “Restricted Use Pesticide” (RUP) – annual use is 60-80 million pounds.


Research:  Even at levels considered “safe” by the EPA, doses as small as 0.1 parts per billion (our advanced and expensive home filter controls it to 0.3 parts) turns tadpoles into hermaphrodites.  At 2.5 parts per billion (still safe within federal standards), male tadpoles developed into functional females.  Implicated in high rates of male bass having female egg sacks.


Impact on Human Health:  Linked to cancer, birth and reproduction, neurotoxicity, kidney, brain, liver damage. 

Legal Status:  All federal and state legislation designed to limit or stop its domestic usage, has been stopped by the farm lobby.  In October, 2003, the EPA named Syngenta, its manufacturer, to be responsible for testing US waterways.  Beginning in March, 2004, the testing only covered 3.4% of the 1172 US highest risk watersheds.  These standards were developed by the EPA, Syngenta, USDA and the farm lobby.  Environmental groups were barred from negotiation. In 1991, German and Italy banned its use.  In 1993, the ban extended to the rest of the EU.


For more info: and  


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