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August 26, 2002

For More Information, Contact:
Kristina Loquist at (916) 651-4011


SACRAMENTO – A demonstration project at the California State Capitol using least toxic alternatives to traditional pesticides will be implemented as a result of Assemblyman Joe Simitian’s (D-Palo Alto) Assembly Bill 2472, one of the winners of Simitian’s “There Oughta Be a Law” contest. Today, Governor Gray Davis signed Simitian’s bill into law. 

Long concerned about the proliferation of toxic pesticides in our environment, Simitian has directed the State to obtain grant funding to implement the demonstration project.

“The time to act is long overdue,” said Simitian.  “We have the ability to use less toxic alternatives to traditional pesticides and herbicides, but we lack the experience here at the State. This measure will give us an opportunity to put in place a high-visibility demonstration program at the Capitol itself, so we can establish that this is doable. Hopefully we can then use this approach on state buildings and grounds throughout California. Reducing pesticides in our environment has a positive impact on water quality and wildlife habitat, as well as human health.” 

Cindy Russell, M.D., with Pesticide Alternatives of Santa Clara County and one of three Acterra members who submitted the bill idea to Simitian’s contest explained, “Reducing the use of toxic pesticides protects the health of our planet and its inhabitants. Fewer toxins in the environment will aid in preventing associated illnesses in Californians such as some cancers as well as respiratory, neurological, and reproductive problems.”

“As for wildlife, a single granule of a common insecticide that’s often used to control ants can kill a bird,” continued Russell. “Ant baits are safer and they wipe out the ant nest, so they are more effective in the long run. This is only one example of a less toxic alternative that will make a world of difference in our environment.  I congratulate Assemblyman Simitian for his vision in pursuing this legislation.”

Though many cities and counties have experience in using less toxic alternatives to pesticides, the State of California has not yet implemented a program on the myriad of properties it owns and/or leases. Simitian, former chair of the Santa Clara County Pollution Prevention Committee, recalls looking at this issue in Santa Clara County. “When we looked at this issue in Santa Clara County,” Simitian notes, “we came across examples of programs that actually led to cost savings after being up and running for just a short time. Using less toxic alternatives is not just an environmentally responsible approach to controlling pests, it can often be more cost effective.” 

AB 2472 is supported by Acterra, the Sierra Club, the California Public Interest Research Group, the League of Conservation Voters and the Breast Cancer Fund.