Organic Consumers Association

Government Dousing Federal Housing Projects with Dangerous Levels of Pesticides

Rochester (New York) Democrat & Chronicle

(October 9, 2003) ‹ ALBANY ‹ Attorneys general in 10 states and the U.S.
Virgin Islands called on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development on Wednesday to follow a federal law governing pesticide use in
public housing projects across the country.

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer contended that the 1.3 million
families living in public housing are at risk because HUD is not making
housing authorities follow integrated pest management techniques, as Spitzer
said the agency is required to do by the federal Insecticide, Fungicide and
Rodenticide Act.

"Integrated pest management will lead to more effective pest control while
decreasing residents¹ exposure to toxic pesticides,"Spitzer said. "HUD
should comply with this commonsense policy quickly and effectively."

The attorneys general¹s petition called on HUD to enforce the requirement at
public housing projects that get HUD funding.

There was no immediate comment from HUD on Wednesday.

Integrated pest management uses non-chemical means to combat pests whenever
practical, such as screens to keep out pests, regular inspections and better
sanitation facilities. Chemicals are used when other options fail, and in
smaller amounts to minimize human exposure.

Spitzer said the petition grew out of a survey his office did in 2002 of
pest management policies at public housing authorities in Albany, Buffalo,
New York City, Syracuse and Yonkers.

The study found that the authorities relied almost exclusively on chemicals,
some of them suspected carcinogens, when pests were discovered.

None used integrated pest management techniques, Spitzer said.

"Some very dangerous pesticides are used by governmental agencies in places
where people live, work and play," the report said.

Other attorneys general signing onto the petition were California¹s Bill
Lockyer, Connecticut's Richard Blumenthal, Illinois¹ Lisa Madigan,
Massachusetts' Tom Reilly, Minnesota's Mike Hatch, Mississippi¹s Mike Moore,
New Mexico's Patricia Madrid, Oklahoma's W.A. Drew Edmondson, Rhode Island¹s
Patrick Lynch and the Virgin Islands' Iver Stridiron.

Lockyer said HUD's current practices "needlessly"expose residents to
dangerous chemicals.

Lynch noted that between 3,000 and 4,000 children live in public housing
projects in Providence and he said it is "disgraceful that HUD ‹ for no
apparent reason ‹ has chosen not to follow the law."


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