Protecting the Chesapeake Bay from pesticide runoff

As a concerned mother and environmentalist, I want to thank The Sun for its recent article on pollution in the Chesapeake Bay ("Report finds widespread contaminants in the bay," Jan. 22).

Meaningful efforts to significantly improve the bay must address pesticide runoff.

The Pesticide Use Reporting Bill would require certified pesticide and fertilizer applicators to report usage data to a centralized database. Centralizing such information would benefit public agencies in their response to fish kills, dead zones and human health outbreaks.

Children are especially vulnerable to pesticide injury, and recent studies show that even minute levels of toxins can be harmful and have permanent consequences.

The bill is cost-neutral and would be funded by a minor increase in the annual pesticide and fertilizer product registration fees. Maryland's fees are the second lowest of 15 nearby states.

Centralizing usage data would allow for more informed decisions and improved management practices for maintaining the health of the bay and for the industries, wildlife and local residents that depend on it.

Kim Birnbaum, Elkridge

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