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Growing Effort To Eliminate Pesticides On Long Island

Submitted by Elizabeth Mooney on Thu, 2012-02-02 11:54.

Environmental groups are asking state environmental officials to immediately ban the three pesticides found most frequently in Long Island's drinking water.

This map shows locations where metalaxyl -- a fungicide -- was discovered in drinking water.This map shows locations where metalaxyl -- a fungicide -- was discovered in drinking water.

Some three million people in Suffolk and Nassau counties depend on a sole source underground aquifer for drinking water, while using millions of pounds of pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides, which trickle into and pollute this groundwater. 

Several groups, including Citizens Campaign for the Environment, say these chemicals are said to have been linked to cancer and kidney and liver damage, in addition to having negative effects on the environment and shellfish populations. The Natural Resources Defense Council recommends that consumers use certified filters to remove volatile organic compounds from their water until the chemicals are phased out.  Other groups that have asked for the ban include the Long Island Sierra Club, the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College and the Group for the East End.

Many other chemicals in use on Long Island have been detected at concentrations in excess of New York State standards. Once in an aquifer, they remain there for decades or longer, discharging contaminants into surrounding surface water resources, including freshwater and tidal wetlands, the Web site states.

Residents can do their part by maintaining cesspools adequately, returning unused pharmaceuticals to appropriate facilities, paying attention to chemicals in personal care products and solvents used in the home, and avoiding chemical fertilizers.

DEC has also recommended citizen attention to household chemicals, asking the public to avoid "weed and feed" combination products. It has reported that 62 of the contaminants found in groundwater are contained in personal care products, including anti-bacterial soaps and toothpastes.


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