July 12, 2022

Marty Dagoberto, NOFA/Mass Policy Director

c: 508-361-0136 e:

Boston – With the legislative session ending July 31st, the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS), the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) and a broad coalition of advocates are urging House Leadership to advance “An Act relative to improving pesticide protections for Massachusetts schoolchildren” (H.926), which has been stuck in “Orders of the Day” since May. H.926 will protect children by decreasing their exposure to pesticides near schools and childcare centers. 

“We believe that House Bill 926, which would narrow the list of acceptable pesticides for use on outdoor grounds of any school or childcare center in the Commonwealth, is an important step forward in averting potential harmful health care consequences in school age children,” wrote the MA Medical Society (MMS) President Theodore A. Calianos, II in a letter to House Leadership dated June 13, 2022. 

In its endorsement of H.926, MMS referred to the 2012 American Academy of Pediatrics call for governments to reduce children’s exposure to pesticides, which noted that “scientific evidence demonstrates associations between early life exposure to pesticides and pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function, and behavioral problems”. 

“I was delighted to see the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) and the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (MCAAP) endorse H.926,” said Representative Carmine Gentile (Thirteenth Middlesex), who has championed this bill for the past two legislative sessions. “MMS and MCAAP join over 60 other organizations, including the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, local school committees and national and state environmental organizations, in calling for protecting children to be protected from the risks posed by unsafe pesticides pose, especially our children.”

“This legislation is critically important because despite the well-known hazards, Massachusetts law still permits schools and childcare centers to use toxic pesticides, including glyphosate and 2,4-D on playgrounds and playing fields,” reads an open letter to Speaker Mariano, dated July 11, 2022 and signed by representatives of two dozen organizations and public figures. “Shielding our communities and children from these damaging pesticides ought to be a public health priority,” the letter continues. 

Dr. Brita E. Lundburg, President of Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility warns that “children have greater exposure to toxic chemicals on a body-weight basis than adults and absorb more pesticides relative to their body weight than adults. Because children have more future years of life, they are at greater risk of developing disease resulting from early exposures. H.926 will protect the children of Massachusetts from toxic exposures that reduce their ability to contribute to society.”

“It is unconscionable to me as a pediatric epidemiologist, public health practitioner, and professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health…. that in the State of Massachusetts we have allowed dangerous chemicals to circulate and be applied in our children’s environment – to the spaces and places our children live, play, and learn,”

Carmen Messerlian, PhD told the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture in a public hearing on the bill on December 14, 2021.  


Further Resources:

Open letter to Speaker Mariano, July 11, 2022

Pesticides and Children: National Pesticide Information Center

Short videos of public testimony delivered in support of H.926 at the public hearing on Dec. 14, 2021 

Fact Sheet/Policy memo from Rep. Carmine Gentile on H.926,  “An Act relative to improving pesticide protections for Massachusetts schoolchildren” 

Full list of endorsements of H.926 (over 60 organizations and 50 elected officials)

A full copy of the Resolution passed by the Mass Medical Society on Saturday, May 21st 2022 is copied below. Here is a link to the letter MMS sent to House leadership.

RESOLVED, That the MMS recognizes that there are associations between early life exposure to pesticides and serious health sequelae in children; and, be it further (HP)

RESOLVED, That the MMS educate the public about the potential health effects of pesticides; and, be it further (D)

RESOLVED, That the MMS advocate for utilization of non-toxic alternatives to pesticides where possible; and, be it further (D)

RESOLVED, That the MMS advocate to decrease children’s exposure to pesticides particularly near schools and childcare centers. (D)