Thursday, September 30, 2010

RIOC Bombarded By Emails From Roosevelt Island Residents On Pesticide Spraying, RIOC Says Synthetic Pesticides Are Safe, Cheaper & Better Than Organic

You Tube Video of Worker Spraying Pesticide (not on Roosevelt Island)

As reported in post earlier this week, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) issued an advisory regarding the planned spraying of pesticides:
... Please be advised on Tuesday, September 28, 2010 Save-A-Lawn will be applying pesticide applications at various common areas island wide. The lawn areas to be treated are Riverwalk Commons, Rivercross, Blackwell Park, Toddler Park, Tennis courts, Firefighter's Field, Capobianco Park, Pony Field and some areas at Lighthouse Park....
During the 9/27 RIOC Operations Committee Meeting, RIOC VP of Operations Fernando Martinez and President Leslie Torres reported being bombarded by emails from Roosevelt Island residents concerned about the safety of these pesticides claiming that the pesticides resulted in kids getting sick. Mr. Martinez and Ms. Torres assured the RIOC Directors that the pesticides and herbicides being used met the stringent safety requirements of New York State. Mr. Martinez also said that the traditional compounds being used were more effective and three times less expensive ($15,000 for organic versus $5,000 for traditional) than organic compounds suggested by some residents. (The audio web cast of the meeting is here. The discussion of pesticides begins around the 1 hour 8 minute and 30 second mark).

Below is an example of email messages sent to RIOC regarding the use of pesticides on Roosevelt Island from a Concerned Island Resident:
I have just learned about this in the last 24 hours...Please take time out of your day to call RIOC to make sure they do the right thing! These chemical will be applied right outside our front doors where our children play and we walk our dogs everyday and night!

I have called them this morning to ask " are they not going to use the Organic Pesticide" ? If not, why not? The Contractor said that there is a organic formula they can use, but RIOC has to ask for it. The water supply as well will be tainted by this not to mention the safety of children, people and animals that live here. We must call RIOC and make sure they are not going the cheap route to save money while endangering our well being here. It is crazy to believe they would do this, but we have to make sure they know we are concerned about what route they are taking in this matter. I hope that the person that makes this decision is aware of all the horrible
things that can happen if they use the toxic formula. I will try to have faith that the powers that be will take care of this matter today.
RIOC Community Relations Specialist Erica Wilder responded to the Concerned Island Resident on 9/28 as follows:
Thank you for contacting us regarding your concerns of the use of pesticides and herbicides on the island. We understand the issues of the use of regulated chemicals and therefore take the necessary precautions to minimize exposure. The decision to use traditional spraying methods over organic was based on the advice from several licensed applicators. They agree that organic pesticides and herbicides are essentially ineffective.

We have contracted a licensed New York State regulated applicator of herbicide and pesticide products to spot treat specific areas around the island for infestations such as West Nile mosquitos, and for poison ivy and other noxious weeds. The applicator must follow protocols mandated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for the application of chemicals in fields, residential and common areas. We will provide residents with advance notice of the application on Friday, October 1st via the RIOC advisory as well as post signs near the areas which will be spot treated 78 hours in advance. Although we are advised that treated sites are safe to frequent twenty minutes after treatment, it is a state requirement to keep the area clear for 24 hours.

Due to the heavy rainfall today, the application has been postponed to a later date next week. We will send out an advisory 24 hours in advance to notify residents of the application.

If you should have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at 212-832-4540 ext 349.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if the City of New York gets the same kinds of complaints for their yearly pesticide application for West Nile. We should be glad that the RIOC is taking care of potentially dangerous pests. If anybody has any pointer to a study or first hand experience on how dangerous the pesticides are for humans, please, post it. If not, please, just be quiet.

Anonymous said...

Normally, I would not be the least bit concerned, but...

This weekend is Fall for the Arts. Many of the events are scheduled for the Rivercross Lawn. The spraying is supposed to be done the day before. I am fairly sure the signs usually warn you to stay off the lawn for at least 24 hours after spraying.

Anonymous said...

The spraying will happen some day next week due to the weather. The art fair is this weekend.