For immediate release
August 24, 2005
Parents urged to ask about hazardous pesticide use at schools
Laundry workers union launches nationwide effort to educate thousands of families about TruGreen ChemLawn chemicals
Minneapolis, MN – As students across the country prepare to head back to school, union members have embarked on a national campaign to educate the public about the dangers of chemicals commonly used by TruGreen ChemLawn on school grounds. Starting this Saturday, members of the union UNITE HERE will canvass 100,000 households in 20 states in order to inform parents about the possible risks associated with TruGreen ChemLawn pesticides. Many schools, including the K-12 Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis, contract with TruGreen ChemLawn for lawn care services.
According to a recent report by the Boston based Toxics Action Center, TruGreen ChemLawn often uses pesticides that contain ingredients that are banned or restricted in other countries, are possible carcinogens, and that are known or suspected reproductive toxins.
Jay Rasku of the Toxics Action Center explains, “Parents should definitely be concerned if TruGreen ChemLawn is applying pesticides at their child’s school. Studies have shown that there are critical periods in human development when exposure to a toxin can permanently alter the way a child’s biological system develops and operates.” Rasku added parents should refuse to use TruGreen ChemLawn, and find out if TruGreen ChemLawn is being used at their child’s school.
The fact that there are health risks associated with pesticide exposure comes as no surprise to the workers of Cintas corporation, many of whom launder soiled TruGreen ChemLawn uniforms and towels. Many laundry workers who handle items from TruGreen ChemLawn have complained of symptoms often associated with pesticide exposure including headaches, rashes and blurry vision.
According to Rosa Cruz, a Cintas laundry worker in Charlotte, NC, “My co-workers and I noticed we were developing rashes. When we told management about the problem, we were sent back to our jobs and the company did nothing. We are tired of suffering from allergies, rashes, eye irritations and other illnesses.”
On July, 29th, Cintas was cited by the North Carolina Department of labor for not providing workers access to safety information for TruGreen ChemLawn pesticides.
To talk to workers and others affected by chemical exposure, to cover the canvassing process, or any other information, please call Pete DeMay at (646)522-9281.
Learn more about the toxic chemicals used by TruGreen ChemLawn at www.refusetousechemlawn.org. This is an announcement from the Campaign for Uniform Justice, a joint effort of UNITE HERE and the Teamsters. Visit www.uniformjustice.org for more information on the campaign.