Report Release: Chemical Free Lakes

Posted by Kalyn Rosenberg on 2/22/12

Toxics Action Center Calls for End to Pesticide Use in Lakes

New Report Offers Safer Alternatives

Read the full report here.

Concord, NH - Toxics Action Center, an environmental nonprofit based in Concord, released Chemical Free Lakes, a new report calling for an end to all herbicide use to treat invasive weeds in New Hampshire’s lakes.  The report sites health impacts. The resource guide provides information on the invasive species threatening New Hampshire water bodies, the health impacts associated with the pesticides used to manage infestations, and the alternative management options are that available. Included in the report are two case studies illustrating the success that groups from the Squam Lakes and Back Bay area have had in reducing or eliminating their use of chemical treatments.

“We at Toxics Action Center believe that everyone has the right to clean air and clean water. To protect this right for the residents of New Hampshire, we believe that keeping harmful chemicals out of the lakes our children swim and out of the rivers that community members enjoy fishing and boating is entirely necessary.” said Kalyn Rosenberg from Toxics Action Center. “Phasing out the use of persistent chemicals is essential for protecting the health of our environment and the health of our community members.”

New Hampshire is home to 959 lakes. Of those, invasive species currently infest 76. According to the report, the weeds inhibit boating, swimming, and other recreation and crowd aquatic habitats, threatening the native species of New Hampshire.

However, the report finds that the herbicides commonly used to treat these weed infestations are toxic.  Kalyn Rosenberg of Toxics Action Center highlighted the health risks associated with specific treatments.  “Exposure to Diquat Dibromide can cause severe long-term impacts such as decreased fertility in males, cataract clouding, and damage to the lungs, liver and kidneys. 2,4-D has been linked to birth defects.”

The group new report, Chemical Free Lake, provides information to residents seeking to manage exotic weeds without the use of pesticides. The report describes 15 non-chemical techniques, such as aeration, hand pulling, and mechanical harvesting, that can be used to manage weed infestations. 

 “Squam Lakes Association has currently chosen nontoxic methods for management,” said Rebecca Hanson from the Squam Lakes Association, “Our management model is three pronged: with prevention, early detection and manual removal of weeds.”

The report, Chemical Free Lakes, is available online at www.toxicsaction.org or by contacting the organization for a hard copy. 

Kalyn Rosenberg commented, “As stakeholders draft the management plan for Lake Winnipesaukee and towns consider how they’ll tackle invasives in local lakes this coming summer, we hope this report compels New Hampshire communities to set aside the pesticides and potentially try something safer and more sustainable.”

New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. “Hazardous Substance Fact Sheet: Diquat Dibromide.” http://nj.gov/health/eoh/rtkweb/documents/fs/0808.pdf.