Minnesota EcoMoms-Chapter of the EcoMom Alliance

Edina school board in 2007 amended its pesticide spray policy to include school grounds, putting our children in harms way for thicker turf

I found the answer to the question, “Does Edina school district spray cancer-causing pesticides on their school grounds where children and their developing minds and bodies play, breathe and roll around in the grass?”


In 1997 Edina was written up in the paper has having integrity to be envied because it did not spray and was viewed as caring more for the well being of the community that turf quality or dandelions.

What happened?

In 2007 the Edina school board amended its “sports turf only” toxic-pesticide-spray-policy to include all school grounds.

Please write a letter to the Edina school board. E-mail Dr. Dressen, Jay Willemssen and the Edina school board members and let them know that you are not okay with the decision to expose any child to environmental toxins of any nature. Read the Toxic Sandbox by Libby McDonald to gain the scientific information about environmental toxins and the adverse affects on developing children. Our kids will be at school in the Edina school district for 7 hours a day, 140 days per year, for the next 13 years.

A child exposed to pesticides over prolonged periods is 6 times more likely to develop soft tissue cancers! Specifically, childhood leukemia. STOP spraying Edina school district and Edina school board.

Edina parents care more about children’s safety and the well being of all living organisms than they do about turf thickness or dandelions!



School board members: Idith Almog <ialmog@hotmail.com> or peyton Robb <to-from@att.net>

I received this reply from school board member:


Thank you for your advocacy on behalf of children. This is certainly an issue the Board should take a look at and understand. I will recommend we put it on the Board agenda as soon as possible.



According to the EPA, 95% of the pesticides used on residential lawns are possible or probable carcinogens. In 1989 the National Cancer Institute reported children develop leukemia six times more often when pesticides are used around their homes. The American Journal of Epidemiology found that more children with brain tumors and other cancers had been exposed to insecticides than children without. Studies by the National Cancer Society and other cancers had been exposed to insecticides than discovered a definite link between fatal non-hodgkins lymphoma (NHL) and exposure to triazine herbicides (like Atrazine), phenoxyacetic herbicides (2,4-D), organophosphate insecticides (diazinon, Dursban, etc.), fungicides, and fumigants; all of which have uses as lawn chemicals. This is an important contributing factor to the 50% rise in NHL over the past ten years in the American population. Studies of farmers who once used these pesticides also found alarmingly high numbers of NHL, especially in those who didn’t wear protective clothing. This latest finding also proves the theory that most danger from pesticides comes through dermal absorption, not ingestion. A University of Iowa study of golf course superintendents found abnormally high rates of death due to cancer of the brain, large intestine, and prostate. Other experts are beginning to link golfers, and non-golfers who live near fairways, with these same health problems.

Documented cases of pesticides in groundwater wells are suspect for cancer clusters showing in many towns. In 1989, drinking water in at least 38 states was known to be contaminated. After the herbicide Dacthal was applied to Long Island golf courses, it was detected in drinking water wells at levels twenty times the State’s safety limits. The water also contained a dioxin that is a highly toxic by-product of Dacthal. The New York State Attorney General sued the manufacturer in 1989 to investigate he contamination and develop a treatment program, since ground water is the main source of drinking water for Long Island. Twenty-two other synthetic pesticide poisons have been found in the water so far. However, there is still no requirement or systematic program designed to test for drinking water contamination. As Michael Surgan, Ph.D., Chief Environmental Scientist for the New York State Attorney General, and an advocate for responsible pesticide use, puts it, “If you buy the notion that we have to accept a certain amount of risk from pesticides to safeguard the food supply, that’s one thing, he notes. But with lawns, people are applying (nerve gases and) carcinogens simply for the sake of aesthetics. That’s got to change”.

Synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers are becoming some of the worst water pollutants in America. Discharges into San Francisco Bay from the central valley of California are estimated at almost two tons per year. Phosphorous levels in some Maryland streams have doubled since 1986. And an EPA study found potentially harmful levels of nitrate from chemical fertilizers in drinking water wells nationwide. This can cause blue-baby syndrome, an oxygen-depriving condition in infants that can be fatal. Environmental impacts are also devastating. Ward Stone, a DEC wildlife pathologist, has long studied bird kills from pesticides that were used according to label regulation. Documented cases of owls, mourning doves, sparrows, blue birds, and many other songbirds killed by lawn chemicals are on the rise. Waterfowl like Canadian geese, mallards, wood ducks, and others have suffered even worse. In 1984 there were 700 brant found dead on a Long Island country club after it was sprayed with Diazinon. Pesticide exposure causes shivering, excessive salivating, grand mal seizures, wild flapping, and sometimes screaming according to U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service volunteer Diana Conger. Ward Stone likens these birds to miners’ canaries, foreshadowing serious harm to humans from chemical build-up in the environment.


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