Public radio from Western Michigan University 102.1 NPR News | 89.9 Classical WMUK
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Pesticides notice bill heard in committee

Rebecca Thiele, WMUK

Anyone who signs up for Michigan’s “pesticide notification registry” would receive notice when mosquito pesticides are sprayed within 500 feet of their home under a bill heard before the state Senate Natural Resources and Agriculture committee Tuesday.

Supporters say it would help residents with health conditions or other concerns reduce exposure to pesticides.

“It’s not about stopping anybody from spraying their bushes or having an application on their lawn to prevent weeds. It’s about people knowing about what’s going on in close proximity,” committee chair and bill sponsor Sue Shink (D-Northfield Twp) said.

Shink said there’s only around 50 people currently on the registry.

But opponents to the legislation say it could still lead to extra stresses on businesses.

Terence Stovall is with the National Association of Landscape Professionals. He made the case that companies that spray for pests commercially already deal with several regulations from the state that private individuals who may be spraying those same pesticides from the store on their lawns don’t have to.

Stovall said better enforcing Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, or MDARD, regulations would be a better solution.

“The expansion of the required notification would result in an increase in unnecessary logistical burden for most MDARD and applicators who would need to update that registry and make sure that they’re fully aware of the most recent updates so we can comply with making those applications,” Stovall said.

Another issue that arose in the meeting is that current law requires a yearly doctor’s note to join or stay on the registry.

Shink’s bill would remove that requirement.

“We should not be creating health care barriers to the registry when the intent is to protect the health of individuals and families,” Shink said.

But Steve Martinko, of the Michigan Green Industry Association, said a large growth in the list would hurt businesses.

“This would take off dramatically to the point where it’s untenable,” Martinko said.

The bill remains in committee for further consideration.