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NYC Elementary Students Want City Council To Ban Toxic Pesticides In Parks

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Some New York City elementary students took a stand Tuesday, hoping to make changes at city parks when it comes to the use of toxic pesticides.

They made sure their voices were heard before lawmakers in City Council chambers.

"We are going to make a great big fuss," they chanted in a skit.

A fuss over toxic pesticides used in New York City parks.

"I think this is a good law that should pass, because pesticides are bad for people," Jesse Balsam told CBS2's Erin Logan.

The fourth grader at PS 290 said he's been researching the topic since he was in Mrs. Rogivin's kindergarten class. On Tuesday, he and his classmates stated their case in skit form.

"Those pesticides and herbicides are toxic," they chanted.

Grades kindergarten through third also joined in, testifying in favor of Intro 0800 – a bill which calls for banning toxic pesticides in city parks and public spaces.

It was first introduced in May 2015. Council Member Ben Kallos was one of its sponsors, and some of the children have been in the chambers advocating before.

"We protested a little bit," Savann Basen said.

Kallos said his goal is to use only biological pesticides that come from natural materials instead of synthetic materials. He said what's most concerning is the herbicide spray called Roundup.

"The World Health Organization found that it was a carcinogen, so we introduced legislation right away," he said.

The students and their teachers said they worry about little kids who don't know any better.

"They roll around in the grass," Basen said.

The Parks Department told CBS2 it's thrilled that area children care so much about the parks, but there are some cases in which they have no choice but to use toxic pesticides to protect native species and public health.

When they do, by law, they make it very clear by posting signs.

"Kids playing sports don't go around reading signs saying, 'Oh they spray over here, we shouldn't touch,'" Rogovin said.

She said she hopes other lawmakers will listen to her students' message.

Kallos hopes to have the legislation passed by the end of the year.

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