working from the ground up to promote
safe alternatives to pesticides in Illinois
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Safer Pest Control Project (SPCP) is dedicated to the reduction of pesticide use and the implementation of safer alternatives in urban and rural Illinois.
The Project was established in 1994 as a partnership of Business and Professional People for the Public Interest, the Illinois Environmental Council Education Fund, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, and Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club. The partner groups, recognizing SPCP’s success and the ongoing need for an Illinois organization to address pesticide issues, set SPCP on course to becoming an independent non-profit organization in 1998. SPCP now has its first Board of Directors, a staff of four, and clear growth potential.
SPCP staff coordinate outreach, education, and technical support efforts and provide up-to-date information on low impact and less-toxic solutions for pest control in schools, housing, yards, gardens, and agriculture. We work with home-owners, apartment dwellers, parents, teachers, school administrators, children, activists, business owners, state and local government officials, pest control operators, and others concerned about the environment and public health.
Pesticides pose serious threats to human health and the environment. Their chemical ingredients have been identified as toxic by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Many are linked to higher rates of cancer, birth defects, reproductive disorders, and neurological, kidney, and liver damage. Nevertheless, use is widespread and Illinois ranks behind only California and Florida in annual pesticide use among states.
The indiscriminate use of pesticides is widely recognized as contributing to unstable populations of birds, fish, and other wildlife, contaminated food and water, the respiratory ailments and direct poisonings of children, the vulnerability of the elderly and others with compromised immune systems, and to high levels of ambient pollution in disadvantaged communities.
All this when sound, effective, and proven alternatives are available.
THE SOLUTION: IPM
We advocate Integrated Pest Management or IPM. IPM is the effective, less-toxic alternative to traditional spray-based control of pests. In yards, homes, schools, parks, gardens, or agriculture, IPM works because it addresses the causes of weed, insect, and rodent pests. It uses current information on the life cycles of pests and their interactions with the environment, in combination with physical (building and planting) improvements, to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment. Toxic chemicals are applied only as a last resort, and in ways that pose the least risk to humans and other non-target species.
SPCP activities include:
Laying the groundwork for new laws requiring IPM and advance notification of pesticide spraying in Illinois public schools.
Designing and coordinating an award winning IPM program in the Henry Horner public housing development on Chicago’s west side.
Coordinating the annual Yards for Nature Campaign advocating chemical free yards.
Releasing an urban pesticide policy report and recommendations relating to pesticide use reduction in schools, parks, mosquito abatement programs, and in and around local government facilities. The report details the problem of pesticide use in public areas and focuses on success stories of individuals and institutions that have made the shift from chemically intensive to IPM pest control.
Promoting sustainably and organically grown foods and advocating for greater access to them; supporting local and family farmers and urban gardeners.
Serving as a clearinghouse to provide accurate, up-to-date information to the public including: specific IPM solutions to pest problems; data on the composition, and health and environmental effects of pesticides; recent scientific research and legislation regarding pesticides and referrals to regional and national organizations working on toxic chemical issues.