I am writing in response to the letter from Allen James, executive director of RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment), July 19. He criticized the editorial, June 27, which drew comparisons between the reaction of the lawn care industry to the new Prince George's County pesticide notification law and the efforts by the tobacco industry fighting smoking regulations.
Mr. James directed his comments to "pesticide runoff from urban lawns." As noted in your editorial, we at Thunder Hill Elementary School in Columbia have taken on the task of hand-weeding certain areas of the school grounds previously sprayed with herbicides. (Herbicides are specific types of pesticides which kill plants.)
We are concerned about the cumulative effects that pesticide run-off may have on groundwater, Chesapeake Bay, and ultimately all living things in our ecosystem.
We are especially worried about the possible effects of direct exposure to these toxic chemicals. This key issue was not addressed in Mr. James' letter.
Pesticides applied to lawns, school grounds, playgrounds, parks and other green areas are picked up by people on shoes, clothing, skin and pet fur. Many commonly-used pesticides are listed by the EPA as known, possible or suspected human carcinogens.
The struggle to secure legal safeguards against unnecessary exposure to pesticides will be long and difficult. Pesticide usage is so pervasive that we accept it as the norm and often fail to question its safety or necessity. When we do, we are assured by industry representatives that it poses no health risk.
Unlike cigarette smoke, which can be seen and smelled, we often cannot detect pesticides with our senses. Pesticides persist in the environment longer than cigarette smoke, affecting those who come into contact weeks or months after application.
What's at stake in terms of the corporate profits of the pesticide industry and public health will ensure that this struggle will ultimately dwarf the smoking controversy. . .
The writer is chairperson of the health and safety committee of Thunder Hill Elementary School.
Dumping On MVA
This is in reference to the letter of July 16, written by Mary Lou Roberts and captioned by the letters editor, "Another MVA Horror Story."
I read that letter, which was given a prominent spot on the editorial page, but I wonder if your editor read it.
How in the world can this be called an MVA horror story when three different government agencies were involved? Do you expect the Motor Vehicle Administration to re-issue a drivers license to someone it believes has not paid his fines?
It seems to me that The Sun has a strong bias against the MVA. Ms. Roberts' problem began when her friend was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol. It's a wonder The Sun doesn't blame that on the MVA also.
As for the letter itself, I get a little tired of reading letters from people who feel so superior to state workers.
If she thinks that government offices are understaffed and people under-trained, I'd like to know where she was when Gov. William Donald Schaefer was laying off state workers, taking away benefits and cutting salaries.
She says that the people who suffer the most are the ones paying the taxes which pay state employees' salaries. I say "Hogwash!" Doesn't she know that state employees pay taxes, too?
I'm really glad that she got her friend's problem resolved. She said that she finally found a gentleman who knew what he was doing, but she didn't say what department of government he was with. Could it be possible that he was an MVA worker?
I had to laugh when I saw the letter from Joseph Carroll of the New Car and Truck Dealers Association. Mr. Carroll fails to mention that he and other auto lobbyists fought both the "clean car" and "gas guzzler" programs for the past two years, as they have fought on a national level to keep cars from being more efficient. . . .
The gas-guzzler program provides incentives for Marylanders to purchase more efficient cars. The money charged to purchasers of "guzzling" cars will fund much needed public transit, providing for an efficient and clean future for Maryland. Five other states want to follow our lead.
Car dealers should wake up and smell some fresh air and next year support both the guzzler and the clean cars program.
The writer is state director of Clean Water Action.
Buyer Beware of Sellers' Advice
Ellen James Martin's July 26 Real Estate section column, "Know your wants before you hunt for a new house," quotes real estate brokers who "caution" prospective home buyers not to dilly-dally in deciding to buy lest they not get their "dream homes."