Artist Mary Lou Correia graciously donates 30% of painting sales to our work if you mention Parents for a Safer Environment. www.mlcorreia.com
Our History in a Flash
Parents for a Safer Environment, PASE, was formed by Susan JunFish in 2002 after witnessing children being exposed to serious environmental health hazards in local preschools in Moraga, Lafayette and Orinda, CA. A steering committee of local volunteers, aided by an Advisory Board of Bay Area health and technical experts, work to conduct research, outreach/education to the community and decision makers as well as advocate for policy change to prevent environmental toxic exposures by providing viable solutions. Our geographical area of impact is primarily Contra Costa County, East Bay Regional Parks District, and also occasional special districts and state-wide legislative work.
In the past sixteen years, due to the research, education/outreach and advocacy efforts of PASE:
- Contra Costa County Departments & its Contractors (Public Works, Agriculture) have reduced pesticide usage by more than 70%, and implemented an Integrative Pest Management Policy (IPM). We continually monitor to ensure that the bar is raised in order protect public health and the environment. We review every pesticide related document, present public comments at public meetings and meet with decision makers to provide solutions. This project has been our longest on-going work, having started in 2005 after learning that the county's Public Works Department was receiving funds from cities to spray roadsides for weed control. We stopped the spraying in Moraga and continue to work to find alternative solutions like weed steaming, managed grazing, and mechanical methods for sustainable weed management along roadsides and flood control district (creek banks).
- Town of Moraga decreased pesticide usage by 95%, and was the first park system in Contra Costa County to adopt a written IPM Policy, resulting in a pesticide-free park system by 2005. As of 2019, Moraga had an exemption for glyphosate although we have encouraged the City Council at public meetings to replace glyphosate with least toxic options.
- Moraga School District eliminated the use of all pesticides and adopted the most protective school district written policy in California. In addition, they replaced toxic cleaning products and fragrances with safer, effective, and cheaper alternatives and also adopted the beginning of a nutrition policy.
- Contra Costa County Mosquito and Vector Control District implemented a goal of eliminating spraying for mosquitoes and initiated placing map locations of future spraying online to give people a chance to avoid direct exposure after PASE presented research from Harvard University showing that spraying pyrethroids with ULV treatment does not lower the reproduction rate of mosquitoes that transfer West Nile Virus.
- The State of CA passed an improvement to the Healthy Schools Act in 2014 that require at minimum, a written least toxic pest program, or Integrated Pest Management, for all child care centers and K-12 schools; reporting of pesticides by applicators, and minimal training of least toxic pest control methods by applicators at schools, and a Program requirement at each school. This goes into effect July 1, 2016.
- City of Walnut Creek ceased all 2,4-D usage as of December, 2015 after we negotiated with decision makers. The City also agreed to post signage prior to any application. However, community members are sending PASE photos showing inconsistency in posting and rodenticide usage without posting. We will be planning phase III with more Walnut Creek residents' involvement.
- East Bay Regional Parks District agreed to phase out Oryzalin, a Prop 65 known human carcinogen and active ingredient in the product, Surflan, that was applied in many parks to control weeds under picnic tables, base of drinking fountains and trees. In addition, EBRPD agreed to stop using all known human carcinogens in all its parks. The District also began piloting trapping and CO asphyxiation since our last presentation to staff with our recommendations in April, 2016. We are planning phase II of communicating, negotiating, and meeting with staff and decision makers.
- Acalanes Union High School District (campuses in 4 cities) - The District stopped using all pesticides except for Roundup in 2006 after we shared our pesticide usage analysis. We have recommended that AUHSD update their IPM Policy with clearer guidelines for staff that shows Approved, Limited, and Restricted pesticide toxicity categories to decrease chances of unnecessary and highly risky incidents re-occurring, With more parent stakeholders' involvement, PASE is willing to help with the final phase, which is the AUHSD Board of Directors institutionalizing a sound policy in writing.
- Thousands of individuals, primarily public agency staff, including local school districts and cities/towns/special districts have received training and information from numerous workshops, conferences, and resources we have provided since 2003. PASE facilitates CEU's from the CA Dept of Pesticide Regulation, required for licensing of applicators. Instead of showing how to use yet another pesticide on the market, we provide cutting edge resources of alternatives to pesticides that have been successfully used by public agencies. Reviews of our trainings have been exceptionally high, with follow-through by agencies who conduct pilot trials.
- City of Richmond and University of California, at Berkeley began 3-year pilot trials for maintaining organic turf after receiving training and signing a contract to follow a management plan designed for each site after we attained grant awards for these agencies. We and working with them to provide resources and support.