I have written about pesticide notification in the past and I think it is about time it gets some notice from state government. Pesticide notification is required in many other parts of the country and should be here as well. The New Mexico Dept. of Agriculture has the ability to require notification when pesticides are used in public areas or commercial buildings open to the public, but they have refused for some reason. The pesticide industry will say their products are safe if used properly. That is nonsense for two reasons. First the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) forbids anyone from saying the pesticides are safe. They are not. They are tested on laboratory animals and may be safe for rats, but there is plenty of evidence in recent studies that show that children exposed to pesticides in schools or in their homes are much more likely to develop leukemia or lymphoma. Pregnant women exposed to some pesticides can have autistic children and there are links between pesticides and Parkinson’s Disease. Roundup can be very hazardous and if it is used anywhere on public property, notification should be in order so people can avoid the area if they wish.
Most labels for the pesticides used by exterminators require the operator to apply the pesticide in cracks, crevices and other voids where pests hide with a pin stream application. This is good. Some companies do this, but others follow the other section on the label which authorizes the pesticides to be sprayed along baseboards in a building or around the house by power spraying. More companies do this than the crack and crevice application because it is easier. It is not anymore effective. The only reason the pesticide companies put broadcast spraying on the label is so the pest companies will use more pesticides and have to buy more pesticides. It is not about safety, it is about money.
If anyone wants to have their home treated in the spray and pray manner (spray pesticides and pray you kill something), that is certainly their business. But when these applications are made to commercial and public buildings that have a lot of employees and visitors, it is potentially dangerous as some people have chemical sensitivities. It may not be legally required (although I will get to that in a bit), but it is certainly the morally correct thing to do to post notifications. Pesticide notifications should be posted at least 24 hours before the application and stay up about 5 days afterwards. The notification should mention the target pest, the pesticide being used, the main ingredient of the pesticide and the phone number of the applicator in case there are any questions. Pesticide labels and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) should be made available for anyone that wants them. Not only is it a moral obligation to require notification, but I believe it is unconstitutional if they don’t.
The NM Constitution says in Art. 2, (Bill of Rights), Sec. 4 (Inherent Rights) that “All persons are born equally free, and have certain natural, inherent and inalienable rights, among which are rights of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and of seeking and obtaining safety and happiness”
I think that is pretty clear that all of our citizens have the right to go anywhere on public property, or commercial property open to the public, without worrying about their safety and well being being jeopardized. Nobody should have to unknowingly be exposed to pesticides and risk serious health issues. That, in my opinion, is totally unconstitutional.