Pesticides & Herbicides - Rochester, NY area

Why paying attention to pesticide and herbicide use in the Rochester area matters: As Climate Change advances there will be more pests and more weeds and more harmful algae and our response will be to spray more pesticides and herbicides that will end up in our streams, rivers, and lakes.    

Page Contents: Pesticides NewsLinks | Pesticides and Climate Change | Resources | 48 Hour Notification Law News | Notification Law Background | Notification Law in other NYS Counties | Pesticide Discussions | Action on Pesticides


Pesticide and herbicide use is coming under closer scrutiny because we are finding that even when properly used toxins from these products end up in our bodies, our children's bodies, our pets, plants and animals around us and in our waterways.  These toxins could be responsible for various cancers and health problems for many unintended victims.

There are alternatives to the aesthetic application of herbicides and this page provides some of those alternatives.  Also, this page provides numerous resources and local news links on the use and misuse of pesticides, including a sub-page on the recent adoption of the 48 Hour Neighborhood Notification Law. for Monroe County. 


The Neighbor Notification Law, Rule and Regulation - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation The Neighbor Notification Law, formally known as Chapter 285 of the Laws of 2000, added Sections 33-1004 and 33-1005 to the Environmental Conservation Law. These new sections add requirements for 48 hour notice to neighbors for certain commercial lawn applications, posting of visual notification markers for most residential lawn applications, providing notice to occupants of multiple dwellings and other occupied structures, and posting of an information sign by retailers who sell general use lawn pesticides. This law is further clarified in regulation 6 NYCRR Part 325 Section 41. - New York State Department of Environmental Conservation


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SEARCH: Use search engine below to find anything posted since 1998.


Pesticides and Climate Change

Climate studies predict several scenarios about the use and effectiveness of pesticides.  Warmer temperatures increase the survival of weeds, invasive species, and vector-driven diseases like West Nile Virus, Lyme disease, and malaria and our predicted response will be to address these issues with more pesticides.


Pesticide Discussions

Over the years various stories on possible pesticide links to environmental problems have cropped up. Think seriously about using Pesticides and Herbicides as there are consequences to their use--however hard Pesticide companies and the media try and blur the links.

  • 3/01/2010 - Pesticide Drift: We have a law in Monroe County called the 48 Hour Neighborhood Notification Law that was implemented to avoid pesticide and herbicide drift, but is it being complied with? Last time we checked, it wasn’t much:  Lawn care law largely ignored — "Many Monroe County homeowners are not complying with the county's new pesticide neighbor notification law, officials say. Under the law, homeowners who apply weed-killers and insecticides to lawn and garden areas larger than 100 square feet must post small signs informing neighbors that chemicals have been applied. In addition, the law requires retailers to post signs next to pesticides explaining the law to their customers." (April 15, 2006) Daily Messenger On a large scale, how is pesticide drift being addressed nation wide?   'Pesticide Drift' Eluding Efforts To Combat It : NPR The Environmental Protection Agency is considering a petition from farm worker and public health advocates to ban pesticide spraying near schools, hospitals and child care centers. Part of the evidence they cite comes from California, the nation's largest agricultural producer, and a state where pesticides carried from the fields by winds sicken hundreds of people each year. (February 25, 2010) NPR : National Public Radio : News & Analysis, World, US, Music & Arts : NPR
  • How are Great Lakes Fish Doing? Important Canadian report about eating fish in the Great Lakes--things are not improving: Up to the Gills: 2009 Update on Pollution in Great Lakes Fish "This report examines fish consumption advisories in the Great Lakes between 2005 and 2009. Up to the Gills finds that levels of toxic chemicals in Great Lakes fish are alarmingly high, and are not improving. The major chemical contaminants that cause consumption advisories for Great Lakes fish include mercury, PCBs, pesticides, dioxins and furans. Health effects of these chemicals include damage to the nervous, respiratory and immune system, as well as cancer." more...
  • Good Well Water Everyone has the right to clean, potable water. Even people in the United States using well water. This is not a fact, or ideology, or belief, or some mental quirk or disposition of mine. No reasonable person can argue this point reasonably. However, “There are no statewide or county laws that require testing of wells in Monroe County, and no enforceable water-quality standards that apply to private supplies.” (6/03/ 09 Democrat and Chronicle) So, the issue about getting clean, potable drinking well water from a well is somehow different from drinking municipal waters, which do have an enforceable standard. There, as it seems, is the rub. more...


Empire State Consumer Project, Inc. Empire State Consumer Project, Inc. (ESCP) is a registered 501c3 Not-for-Profit Organization dedicated to reducing the use of pesticides and other chemicals toxic to human and environmental health. We accomplish this by educating consumers and industry, conducting product testing and reporting, and by advocating for regulation where needed to protect the public interest.


Resources on Pesticide Use:

There are  many resources on why you should be concerned about pesticide use in the Rochester NY area

  • "Pesticide Product Search Is Online The NYSDEC Bureau of Pest Management is pleased to announce that the new pesticide product registration database is now "live".  The web address is  When visiting the webpage, please select the Products icon on the right side of the page to perform product searches."  New York State Department of Environmental Services (posted 9/16/2016)
  • Pet Groomers and Pesticide Products Products intended or used to kill or control fleas, ticks, and other pests on pets are considered pesticides under the New York State Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) and their sale and use is regulated by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Pesticides commonly used on pets may include: shampoos, dips, topical treatments, and collars. However, products such as these which do NOT claim to kill or control fleas, ticks, and other pests on pets, are NOT pesticides, unless they are applied with the intention to control pests. Visit the National Pesticide Information Center (link leaves DEC webpage) website to find further information about using pesticides on pets, and pesticide poisoning in pets. Any product that is considered a pesticide may only be sold or used in New York if it is registered by both the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the DEC. There is one exception to this registration requirement; pesticides known as "minimum risk" are exempt from EPA and DEC registration. More information regarding minimum risk pesticides can be found in the section below. New York State Department of Environmental Services
  • Empire State Consumer Project, Inc. Empire State Consumer Project, Inc. (ESCP) is a registered 501c3 Not-for-Profit Organization dedicated to reducing the use of pesticides and other chemicals toxic to human and environmental health. We accomplish this by educating consumers and industry, conducting product testing and reporting, and by advocating for regulation where needed to protect the public interest.
  • CDC - National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals | CDC provides an ongoing assessment of the U.S. population's exposure to environmental chemicals using biomonitoring. Biomonitoring is the assessment of human exposure to chemicals by measuring the chemicals or their metabolites in human specimens such as blood or urine.
  • Insect Repellents: Use and Effectiveness | Pesticides | US EPA Effective insect repellents are an important tool to protect people from serious mosquito- and tick-borne disease. In the United States, mosquitoes can transmit diseases like St. Louis encephalitis and West Nile virus. Ticks can transmit serious diseases like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Ehrlichiosis.
  • Questions and Answers Regarding New York State Pesticides Program - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation Welcome to the Pesticides Program's series of Questions and Answers (Q&A). This Q&A series is designed to provide information on Pesticide Program subjects of interest to the public and the regulated community. The Q&A cover a range of subjects, such as pesticide product labels, commercial lawn applications, certified applicators, and many more topics.
  • Grassroots Environmental Education - A Non-Profit Environmental Education Organization The mission of Grassroots Environmental Education is to educate the public about the links between common environmental exposures and human health. We believe the cultivation of broad-based support through education is the key to positive and lasting change, and we seek to empower individuals to act as catalysts for change within their own communities.
  • Pests and Pesticides --from NYS Department of Health 
  • Pesticides | Region 2 | US EPA The Region 2 pesticides program works with EPA Headquarters and state and local governments to promote and ensure the proper use, regulation and enforcement of pesticides in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. More specifically, the program seeks to educate the public about illegal and unregistered pesticides, develop strategies for the reduction of pesticide pollution by agricultural users and provide information about mosquito control. The program also provides pesticide information and presentations to public interest groups, academia, the regulated community, and the general public.
  • Pesticide Action Network North America | Advancing Alternatives to Pesticides Worldwide Pesticides are hazardous to human health and the environment, undermine local and global food security and threaten agricultural biodiversity.
  • Beyond Pesticides Beyond Pesticides (formerly National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides) works with allies in protecting public health and the environment to lead the transition to a world free of toxic pesticides. The founders, who established Beyond Pesticides as a nonprofit membership organization in 1981, felt that without the existence of such an organized, national network, local, state and national pesticide policy would become, under chemical industry pressure, increasingly unresponsive to public health and environmental concerns.
  • National Pesticide Information Center NPIC provides objective, science-based information about pesticides and pesticide-related topics to enable people to make informed decisions about pesticides and their use. NPIC is a cooperative agreement between Oregon State University and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Toxic Environmental Chemicals:  How does our government decide what manmade chemicals are dangerous when released into our environment?  Find out here: ToxCast™ Program | National Center for Computational Toxicology | US EPA Predicting Hazard, Characterizing Toxicity Pathways, and Prioritizing the Toxicity Testing of Environmental Chemicals ToxCast™ Navigation  In 2007, EPA launched ToxCast™ to develop a cost-effective approach for efficiently prioritizing the toxicity testing of thousands of chemicals.



Check out these sites for ways to control pests without using dangerous chemicals.

  • New York State Integrated Pest Management Program "Our Mission: The New York State Integrated Pest Management Program develops sustainable ways to manage pests and helps people to use methods that minimize environmental, health, and economic risks. "

Action on Pesticides

How can Rochesterians reduce the use of Pesticides in the Rochester, NY area?

  • Great Lawns/Great Lakes Providing Integrated Pest Management Education, specific to Lawncare, to Municipalities in the Genesee River/Lake Ontario Watershed
  • Integrated Pest Management Integrated Pest Management What is Integrated Pest Management? Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a holistic approach to pest control, not an alternative pest control method. It employs a variety of methods, and minimizes the potential for adverse effects on health and the environment. --from HOME - OFFICE OF THE NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL ANDREW M. CUOMO
  • Get the facts on lawn chemicals from the EPA: The Facts About Lawn Chemicals  Lawn chemicals are the fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides used in lawn and garden care. When lawn chemicals are applied improperly, they can run off into streams, harming fish and other animals and contaminating our drinking water.
  • Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families is a groundbreaking coalition of diverse groups united by their common concern about toxic chemicals in our homes, places of work, and products we use every day.

Monroe County's 48 Hour Notification Law News

It took a long time for Monroe County to finally adopt into New York State's 40 Hour Notification Law that gives neighbors a chance to remove themselves, their children, and the pets in case of spray drift during pesticide applications.

  • Lawn care law largely ignored — Many Monroe County homeowners are not complying with the county's new pesticide neighbor notification law, officials say. Under the law, homeowners who apply weed-killers and insecticides to lawn and garden areas larger than 100 square feet must post small signs informing neighbors that chemicals have been applied. In addition, the law requires retailers to post signs next to pesticides explaining the law to their customers. (April 15, 2006) Democrat and Chronicle
  • WXXI: County Issues Reminder on Pesticide Law (2006-04-12)- ROCHESTER, NY (2006-04-12) With the lawn care season arriving, Monroe County's Health Department has mailed out information packages to retailers who sell pesticides. The mailings are to remind people about the new neighbor notification law. It requires commercial pesticide applicators and homeowners who apply their own bug or weed killers to post signs on their property, alerting neighbors that chemicals have been used. wxxi NewsRoom
  • Pesticide notification assisted - Applicators can use county's new online system — For Monroe County lawn care companies, complying with the new pesticide neighbor notification law may be as simple as pointing and clicking. County Executive Maggie Brooks announced a new searchable online system that uses county Geographic Information Systems data to identify neighbors of a given address. To learn more Even homeowners must comply with the new pesticide notification law. They are required to place signs on their lawn when applying any chemical pesticide (including granular) to more than 100 square feet of property. (If a commercial applicator is used, the company will take care of the notifications.) For more about the law or to download signs, go to  and click on "Public Health." - (March 16, 2006) Democrat and Chronicle
  • Spring to bring pest notes - While local lawn care companies plan to send pesticide notices, larger firms might skirt law - — You may soon be one of the hundreds of Monroe County residents who receive a letter of notice that your neighbors are planning to treat their lawns, gardens or fields with pesticides this spring. Monroe County last year approved legislation requiring, among other changes, that all neighbors be notified at least 48 hours in advance that pesticides will be commercially sprayed near their homes. The law took effect Jan. 1. (March 6, 2006) Democrat and Chronicle
  • What's a little pesticide between neighbors? Well, chemicals don't respect property lines. At issue is whether Ontario County should pass a law requiring notification when sprays are used. CANANDAIGUA - Kimberly and Bryan Babcock don't care if dandelions fill their lawn or beetles crave their vegetable garden. But they do care if their 4-year-old son, Ben, plays near places treated with pesticides.  ( June 19, 2005) Daily Messenger
  • Bill on pesticide alerts OK'd - Monroe legislators put county in line with state notification law - After months of public debate on science, privacy and public health, on Tuesday night Monroe County adopted a controversial state law that restricts pesticide use. According to the Neighbor Notification Law, companies that use liquid pesticides will be required to give their client's neighbors 48 hours of notice by mail each time they spray. It's a state law that passed five years ago in Albany, with an opt-in provision for counties. Monroe is the 13th county to pass the measure. In April, it was adopted by the five boroughs of New York City, which are technically counties. (June 15, 2005) Democrat & Chronicle
  • 13WHAM-TV || Rochester - Pesticide Notification Law Passes Monroe County Legislature (Rochester, NY) 06/15/05 -- Starting next year, the rules will change for Monroe County residents who use pesticides on their lawns. On Tuesday night, the county legislature voted 21-8 in favor of the 48-hour notification law. The law requires lawn care companies to notify neighbors before using pesticides within 150 feet of their home. That notification must come in writing at least two days before application. 13WHAM-TV || Rochester
  • WXXI: County Pesticide Notification Law Passes (2005-06-15) ROCHESTER, NY (2005-06-15) Monroe County lawmakers Tuesday night approved a measure which would require lawn-care companies to notify neighbors of their clients before spraying liquid pesticides. The 48-hour Neighbor Notification Law is a state law that counties have the option of adopting. wxxi NewsRoom
  • Pesticide Notification Law Okayed -Monroe County legislators have approved a controversial law that requires lawn care companies to provide 48-hours notice to neighbors when a company goes to spray pesticides at a person's home. Lawn care companies have lobbied against the move, which some other counties have also adopted.
  • Pesticide notification law voted in - Pesticide applicators in Monroe County will now have to give neighbors of affected properties a 48-hour notice, when they intend to use liquid pesticides. The legislation actually exists as state law, with counties having the choice to "opt in" to it. WROC TV NEWS 8 NOW ROCHESTER NEW YORK
  • Pesticide appliers fight law - Lawn care companies push for registry instead of notification. On Tuesday, three separate events in Rochester underscored a months-long local battle over a proposed law that would restrict commercial pesticide use in Monroe County. Lawmakers are deliberating a notification law that passed in 2000 in Albany, and has an opt-in provision for counties. (May 11, 2005) Democrat & Chronicle
  • Deal on proposed pesticide law flops - Third public hearing next week on neighbor notification bill -— A compromise on a controversial pesticide notification bill failed this week, ensuring that a bitter months-long debate will go into its third public hearing Tuesday. The bill, introduced in January by County Executive Maggie Brooks, has drawn hundreds of people to legislature meetings since March. It pits certified pesticide applicators against people who say the chemicals are a health threat.  (May 4, 2005) Democrat & Chronicle
  • Lawn sprays evoke passion -(March 14, 2005)  Pesticide applicators fight county neighbor-notification bill - The Neighbor Notification Law would require commercial pesticide applicators to give 48 hours' written notice to neighbors within 150 feet of their clients before any pesticides are sprayed.  Schied suggested that a coalition made up of industry, agency and academic representatives, along with concerned citizens, look for "the best option" for notification — maybe even create "a model for the state." To the lawn care industry, that means a voluntary registration program, for those neighbors who want to be notified. Skeptics disagree. "Only under the force of law will residents have a real health choice," said Frank Regan, co-chairman of the Sierra Club, Rochester Regional Group, who has studied the pesticide issue for a decade. In the seven other counties with the law, he said, not one lawn care company has gone out of business and the related expenses of county health departments have been minimal. "This law is not the monster characterized by the lawn care industry," said Regan. "The costs are modest, and the public benefits are large."--Democrat & Chronicle
  •  Pesticide plan stirs call for review - 62 people offer views on neighbor notification proposal. (March 9, 2005) — Rochester-area lawn care professionals Tuesday night called on Monroe County lawmakers to conduct a "thorough, authoritative" study on the environmental effects of a proposed law that would further restrict the use of pesticides. Democrat and Chronicle
  • Pesticide warning bill clears 1st hurdle - Committee votes 5-2 to send measure to County Legislature - (March 3, 2005) — A proposed Monroe County law that would increase the regulation of residential pesticide use passed its first procedural hurdle Wednesday. After testimony from 42 speakers, the county's environment and public works committee voted 5 to 2 to allow the measure to be considered by the full legislature next week. Democrat and Chronicle  
  • County starts work on pesticide bill - (January 28, 2005) — Lawyers for Monroe County started work Thursday on drafting a proposed law that would require residential pesticide applicators to give neighbors 48 hours notice before spraying. It would make Monroe only the eighth county among the state's 62 counties to opt into New York's Neighborhood Notification law, passed in 2000. The bill will be introduced as early as next month, said Larry Staub, spokesman for county executive Maggie Brooks. (January 30, 2005) . Democrat and Chronicle
  • Monroe may be 1st GOP county to OK pesticide bill (February 24, 2005) — In a surprise announcement during a community forum yesterday evening, Monroe County Legislature majority leader Bill Smith, R-Pittsford, predicted that a controversial pesticide notification bill will pass "with a broad majority" this year. What's next The proposed bill, called a "referral," will be discussed at 4 p.m. March 2 by Monroe County's Environment and Public Works Committee. If the referral passes, it will be on the agenda at 6 p.m. March 8, during the full meeting of the county legislature. A public hearing will precede a vote.

Notification Law Background

Much was known about the benefits of the Notification Law before it came to Monroe County. 

Notification Law in other counties

How is the NYS 48 Hour Neighborhood Law set up, monitored, and look like in other NYS counties? 

  • Albany County has passed the Pesticide Neighbor Notification law -- check their online information Albany County Neighbor Notification Law
  • Rockland County has passed the Pesticide Neighbor Notification law -- check their online information The Rockland County 48 Hour
  • Nassau County has passed the Pesticide Neighbor Notification law -- check their online information Nassau County Health Department Pesticide Notification. (516) 571- 8707. Department will respond to complaints regarding improper signage and notification by residential and commercial applicators. It will also inspect retail establishments for proper signage regarding the approved application of pesticides.
  • Suffolk County has passed the Pesticide Neighbor Notification law -- check their online information Health Services In August 2000, the Suffolk County Legislature adopted the Neighbor Notification Law (L.L. 20-2000).
  • Tomkins County has passed the Pesticide Neighbor Notification law -- check their online information Tompkins County Health Department: NNL for Pesticides
  • Westchester County has passed the Pesticide Neighbor Notification law -- check their online information Pesticide Neighbor Notification Information