ASSEMBLY ENVIRONMENT AND SOLID WASTE COMMITTEE

 

STATEMENT TO

 

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR

ASSEMBLY, Nos. 3782 and 3621

 

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

DATED:  DECEMBER 15, 2011

 

      The Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee reports favorably an Assembly Committee Substitute for Assembly Bill Nos.3782 and 3621.

      This substitute bill would be known as the “Safe Playing Fields Act,” and would restrict the use of lawn care pesticides on the grounds of any child care center and certain schools, playgrounds, and recreational fields in the State.

      The bill would prohibit pesticide use on the grounds of any child care center, except as an emergency response to an immediate threat to human health, and would restrict child access to pesticide treated areas for at least seven hours after the application.

      In addition, the bill would prohibit the use of lawn care pesticides on the grounds of any school which enrolls students in kindergarten or in any grade between grade one through eight, except as an emergency response to an immediate threat to human health, as determined by school officials, in consultation with the local health officer, as appropriate.

      The bill would also prohibit the use of lawn care pesticides on playgrounds, except as an emergency response to an immediate threat to human health, as determined by the municipal or county governing body in consultation with the local health officer, as appropriate, or by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection, as applicable. However, this provision would not apply to playgrounds located on the grounds of a community association.

      The bill would direct the Commissioner of Environmental Protection, in consultation with the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services, to adopt rules and regulations concerning pesticide application, record keeping, and staff and parental notification procedures at child care centers with the goal of mitigating potential health risks to young children.

      The bill defines a “lawn care pesticide” as any pesticide labeled, designed, or intended for use on lawns, gardens, turf or ornamental plantings, and the definition of “pesticide” excludes low impact pesticides as defined pursuant to current law.

      The bill would take effect on the first day of the 13th month following the date of enactment of the bill into law.