Take a stand against pesticide pollution.

Write a letter to the editor of your local paper

Do you want to bring attention to the use of pesticides or antibacterials at your child's school?

Are you an advocate for an ordinance that restricts pesticide use in your community?

Do you want to raise awareness about the effects of pesticides on honey bees, water quality, and the wider environment?

Writing a letter to the editor of your local paper is simple, effective way to spread the word about the benefits managing landscapes, buildings, and your entire community without the use of hazardous pesticides. A growing number of localities, school systems, and universities across the country both large and small are enacting common-sense policies that forgo the use of pesticides in favor of safe, effective organic practices.

See below for a quick framework you can use as a general reference as you write your letter. Note that you can also refer to the substantive talking points listed on the side of the text box for general pesticide facts, but try not to rely on them too heavily. This letter must reflect the unique conditions surrounding the issue you are addressing.

  • Call out local officials or politicians directly by name (this makes sure that if the letter is published it the gets to their desk).
  • Keep your letter under 200 words.
  • Focus on the positive aspects of your goals.
  • Be concise and summarize your position in the first sentence (most editors read the first 2-3 sentences before deciding whether to include a letter).
  • Pay attention to spelling and grammar.
  • Add a personal touch.

If you'd like additional help in crafting your letter, please contact Beyond Pesticides by calling 202-543-5450 or emailing info@beyondpesticides.org

Step 1 - Select a Recipient

Letter to the Editor

The Letter to the Editor Section is one of the most widely read sections of the newspaper and can reach a large audience. It allows community members to comment on the way issues are being addressed in the media and to influence the topics the local paper may choose to cover. Elected officials often monitor this section of the newspaper and take notice of constituents' opinions.

We've made it easy for you to contact your local newspaper with your views, but editors want to hear from you in your own words.

Look for papers within miles of zip code

Step 2 - Write your message

Click on a point to add it to the letter.
  • According to the non-profit group Beyond Pesticides, out of 30 commonly used lawn care pesticides, 17 are associated with cancer, 24 with kidney or liver damage, 11 with birth defects, 14 with neurotoxicity, 19 with reproductive effects, 18 with disruption of the endocrine system, and 25 are sensitizers or irritants (http://www.beyondpesticides.org/lawn/factsheets/30health.pdf).

  • Children are most vulnerable to pesticide exposure because they take in more pesticides than adults relative to their body weight and have developing organ systems. In November 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a report acknowledging that "the concerning and expanding evidence base of chronic health consequences of pesticide exposure underscores the importance of efforts aimed at decreasing exposure" (http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2012/11/21/peds.2012-2757.full.pdf+html).

  • Beekeepers have been experiencing unsustainable losses of over 30% each winter. The science continues to link a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids to the decline in honey bees and other pollinators.

  • Pesticides are not required in order to maintain a healthy lawn. Organic land care is an effective alternative to chemicals that endanger human and environmental health. Simple steps can maintain a lawn without toxic products. This fact sheet from the non-profit group Beyond Pesticides walks you through the steps: http://beyondpesticides.org/lawn/documents/OrganicFallLawn101.pdf

  • This policy would be similar to numerous others that create environmental and neighborhood stewardship, including littering, recycling, noise ordinances, and even picking up after pets. These laws are rarely enforced with fines, but most people follow them because they have become internalized. The focus of this law would not be to pit neighbors against each other or to impose an egregious amount of fines, instead, it is to educate the public on hazardous pesticides and alternatives in an effort to promote a healthy community and cleaner environment.

  • Enacting such as policy would make our community a model for others.

  • The Environmental Protection Agency does not adequately test the hazards associated with pesticide use. Up to 99% of a pesticide product sold on store shelves can contain what are known as "inert" ingredients, which are not safety tested by the agency. However, despite their name, these ingredients are neither chemically, biologically, or toxicologically inert; in fact they can be just as toxic as the active ingredient. A 2009 study showed that an "inert" ingredient in the popular weed killer Roundup called POEA has the ability to kill human cells (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/tx800218n).

  • A 2012 study from researchers from the University of California at Davis (UC Davis) and the University of Colorado found that triclosan impairs muscle function in fish and mice and stated that the results they found show “strong evidence that triclosan could have effects on animal and human health at current levels of exposure." (http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/08/08/1211314109.abstract)

  • Your street address*
    12345 Honey Hammock Hill
    ZIP code (5 digits)*