Smart on Pesticides Coalition (SOPC)

Together, We’re Making Maryland Safer from Pesticides

The Smart on Pesticides Maryland coalition works to protect Marylanders and the natural systems we depend upon from the toxic impacts of pesticides. The Smart on Pesticides Coalition of 109 organizations and businesses is a winning strategy, amplifying all our voices, so Marylanders can win important public health and environmental protections from pesticides in our state. The Coalition includes organizations and institutions representing communities, businesses, health care providers, farmers, environmentalists, Waterkeepers, interfaith congregants as well as environmental justice, public health, and wildlife advocates.

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PFAS in Pesticides: Double Trouble

Lab testing found the ‘forever chemical’ PFAS in three of the mosquito control pesticide used by Maryland and private pest management companies. The combination of pesticides that already carry health risks become greatly magnified when combined with toxic PFAS – and they are in our food, water, air, and bodies forever!

Right now, EPA is pushing a weakened definition that will effectively eliminate 6,000 of the 12,000 PFAS chemicals from being regulated – an incredible windfall for the chemical industry – and a public health and environmental disaster for the rest of us, for wildlife, and the environment.

Help us stop EPA from giving PFAS protections away with the stroke of a pen.

Learn more about the bill before Congress that will require EPA to retain the original PFAS definition the rest of the world uses, and the protections that go with it.

Take action now!

Invest 1 minute to send your Congressperson an email asking them to co-sponsor and actively support HR5987, the PFAS Definition Improvement bill.

Download the fact sheet about the dangers of PFAS in pesticides.

2022 Legislative Update

The Coalition worked to advance two first-year bills in the 2022 Maryland General Assembly session.

The legislature was previously unaware of the issues surrounding these two bills, and so we focused on the education of key legislators, committees, and the public. Not unexpectedly, neither bill advanced out of their committees this session, however key leaders are planning to introduce these bills again in the 2023 session. We knew that this would be a multi-year effort.

We are very appreciative of our advocates, bill sponsors, experts who provided testimony, and supporters, like you, for stepping up to protect Maryland’s environment from toxic pesticide harm.

Here are the two bills we worked to pass in 2022, and will continue to strive to advance in 2023.

HB 570: PFAS-free Mosquito Control Products

PFAS was found at dangerously toxic levels in three pesticides used for mosquito control by the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA). It is unknown how many mosquito control products are contaminated with PFAS. PFAS, called a “forever chemical” because it never breaks down in our bodies or the environment, is a dangerous class of chemicals linked to cancer and other long-term health impacts. In addition to thousands of Marylanders who contract with commercial companies for mosquito control services, 2100 Maryland communities in 16 counties were signed up for MDA’s mosquito control program in 2021.

HB570 would have eliminated PFAS contamination in pesticides used for mosquito control in Maryland by requiring manufacturers to test their products and provide proof the products are PFAS-free. 

Advocates and witnesses testifying a the bill hearings made good progress in educating legislators and the public about this new threat. Unfortunately, the bill in year 1 did not pass in the Health & Government Operations Committee (HGO). This committee is new to the issues of pesticides, however, we’ll continue with issue education and prepare for winning this needed protection in 2023. Thanks again for your support!

Download the issue fact sheet.

Want to Protect Yourself and Family from PFAS in Mosquito Sprays Now?

Visit our Managing Mosquitoes Without Pesticides page, for how to opt-out your property and community from the State spray program.

On this page, you can also access the fact sheet for lots of safer alternatives to protect you and yours from mosquitoes this season.

Update on HB387/SB268 for better pesticide oversight

Thank you for following our progress on the Maryland Pesticide Regulation – Transfer to Dept. of the Environment Bill (HB387/SB268). Our goal for this legislative session was to educate legislators and Marylanders, and we certainly accomplished that. Nevertheless, the bill was voted down in the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee. The advocates and experts that joined us to testify did a masterful job of making the case for pesticide regulation to be moved to the Department of the Environment. We will continue the education process for a better outcome in 2023.

Download the issue fact sheet.