Request that the Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 Use Chemical Free Lawn Care

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We, the undersigned, are concerned parents and residents of Park Ridge, Illinois.

Through this petition we strongly urge the Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 (District) to use only natural lawn care practices whenever possible, and refrain from using synthetic pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, etc.) and fertilizers on school grounds, playing fields and other areas on which our children play. Schools are meant to be safe sanctuaries for children.

Scientific studies link lawn chemicals with adverse health outcomes such as childhood cancer; asthma; neurological, behavioral, and immune system disorders; endocrine disruption; and reproductive impairment, among others.

While the District's current contract with its lawn care provider does not expire until 2019, the District can take action now to minimize the children's exposure to harmful chemicals.

Effective immediately, we ask that the District ban its current and routine use of lawn care products with the EPA signal words of "WARNING" or "DANGER ". The EPA uses these signal words to indicate the level or type of hazard associated with the ingredients in the products. Products labeled "DANGER" have the highest acute toxicity; products labeled "WARNING" have moderate acute toxicity. It is unacceptable that the District applies moderate to high toxicity products where our children play. 

We ask that the District practice natural and proper lawn care techniques such as core aeration twice per year, mowing high, and leaving the clippings on the lawn for green and healthy school grounds and to further reduce the need for chemical inputs. 

We ask that the District construct a Request for Qualification ahead of contract discussions in 2019 to open the management of School District 64's grounds to companies that can cost-effectively fulfill the lawn care maintenance expectations and requirements consistent with natural lawn care techniques and processes.

And finally, we ask that the District adhere to The Precautionary Principle, which states that "When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically."

Natural lawn care is safer for our children and we understand that it requires some weed tolerance. This offers an excellent opportunity to educate the students and the community about the benefits of natural landscaping and would easily tie into conservation, ecology and other science-based curricula covered in the Next Generation Science Standards. 



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