Time to end aerial pesticide spraying

Dear Editor:

As we celebrate the month of May and the return to light and warmth it is so exciting to see the ponds and lakes thawing, the migrating birds returning, the landscapes greening and the outdoor life of farmers and gardeners buzzing with activity.

And then… we wonder, will we also hear the whop, whop, whop of the helicopter blades returning to our beautiful natural landscapes to spray pesticides and herbicides and fungicides all over the hundreds and hundreds of acres of blueberry fields in Hancock County…. again? Please, please, please say no!

We the people of Hancock County are still being exposed to the aerial spraying of these poisonous chemicals. Our research shows that we remain the only county in Maine that still practices this archaic method of applying pesticides. While we pray for all growers to stop applying these chemicals to their fields, we insist on the end of aerial spraying!

Cancer rates are at an all-time high in Hancock County. Think about it. How long can we sustain this practice?

Last year a large group of local people signed a letter that was sent to our local blueberry growers asking them to please stop aerial spraying. We have data that proves helicopters were spraying for 44 minutes during a time when there were 10-knot wind gusts. Forty-four minutes…10 knots of wind…how far do you think that poisonous spray traveled? I could smell it from my back deck. Could you? Are you contacted by the growers prior to the spraying? Do you live within 10 miles of a blueberry field that is aerial sprayed?

This reminds me of the secondhand smoke that we were breathing when cigarette smokers smoked in public places. It took a long time, but now we are no longer subjected to breathing that smoke. It should be the same for our backyards! We should not have to breathe in the pesticide drift of aerial spraying.

Can this be the year, 2017, when we can all celebrate the end of aerial pesticide spraying in Hancock County?

Joanne Steenberg