Dear Springfield: Overturn The Illinois Pesticide Act

Staff Editorial

To our esteemed legislators in Springfield, Illinois:

We urge you all to overturn "The Illinois Pesticide Act," a law which essentially forbids municipalities from regulating the use of pesticides in any way, even if these municipalities are home rule "units," as the law says.

For clarity’s sake, here is the law:

(415 ILCS 60/3) (from Ch. 5, par. 803) 

Sec. 3. Delegation of Authority. The Illinois Department of Agriculture shall administer "The Illinois Pesticide Act". 

1. It shall be the duty of the Department of Agriculture to enforce this Act and such provisions of other Acts intended to control the registration, purchase, use, storage and disposal of pesticides, unless otherwise specified in this Section. Also, the Department of Agriculture shall control the purchase and use of pesticides pertaining to the production, protection, care, storage, or transportation of agricultural commodities and to control the use of pesticides applied by agricultural equipment. Also, the Department shall establish and implement an Agrichemical Facility Response Action Program as provided in Section 19.3. 

2. It shall be the duty of the Department of Public Health to enforce such provisions of this Act and other Acts intended to control structural pest pesticides, as defined in subparagraph 37 of Section 4, of this Act. It shall be the duty of the Department of Public Health to enforce such provisions of this Act related to vector control, control of pestiferous and disease carrying insects, rodents and other animals, and control of birds and other mammals that may pose a threat to the health of the public. 

3. It shall be the duty of the Environmental Protection Agency to enforce such provisions of this Act and other Acts intended to protect and preserve the quality of air, water, and guard against unreasonable contamination of land resources. 

4. The regulation of pesticides by any political subdivision of this State, including home rule units, is specifically prohibited except for counties and municipalities with a population over 2,000,000. The regulation of pesticides under this Act is an exclusive power and function of the State, except as provided in this paragraph, and is a denial and limitation, under Article VII, Section 6, subsection (h) of the Illinois Constitution, of the power of a home rule unit to regulate pesticides. 

(Source: P.A. 89-94, eff. 7-6-95.)

Chemical pesticides have been linked to ADHD in children. That, by itself, should be enough for our esteemed legislators.

If you’re looking for precedent, Madison, WI, regulated products containing phosphorous in the early 2000s in order to reduce their impacts on local lake quality, which became a de facto pesticide regulation on weed-n-feed products. Wisconsin also has state preemption for pesticides. After industry sued Madison, the courts found that cities can regulating items with legitimate local public health and environmental concerns.

We strongly urge you in Springfield to repeal this law, and allow municipalities throughout the state to do whatever we can to regulate these harmful chemicals, and save our children from unnecessary harm!