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Concern over pesticides sprayed in Albany parks | Environment

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Concern over pesticides sprayed in Albany parks

Call it a pesticide protest.

Some furious parents and members of the group Save the Pine Bush are calling on heftier penalties for companies that spray illegal chemicals in public places.

This after Albany city contractors used a known poison in a popular park.

For Amanda Brazee, spending several hours at RidgefieldPark in Albany with her two boys is part of the weekly routine.

But that routine ended when she realized contractors were spraying dangerous chemicals way too close for comfort.

“We were watching him on the tractor, started on the ball field and then moved to the grass near the swings,” said Brazee.

The chemical is called Trupower Three.

It includes 3 dangerous ingredients, including Dicamba.

Because of its toxicity, this poisonous herbicide was banned in Albany 10 years ago.

The company the city contracted to spray says it didn't know that the chemical was illegal.

The city calls it an oversight.

Tuesday afternoon, Common Council Member Dominick Calsolaro joined members of an infuriated Save the Pine Bush group to echo the outrage.

“The problem is that ignorance is not a defense. And the city may open itself up to civil liability if people get sick.”

Environmental researcher Grace Nichols says that the chemical that was sprayed on the field and near the flowers can stay in the soil up to 12 weeks.

Saying it's too late to point fingers, she points out that the city needs to know exactly what's being sprayed so people and their pets stay safe.

“We need to strengthen the pesticide law and obey the ordinances in place. Because Amanda and the rest of us need to be able to go to the parks without fear.”

But Amanda and little Luca may not be back for a while.

“I'm concerned about health issues to develop for me and my sons.”

Some members of the common council plan to call for strengthening the ordinance that prohibits this chemical in Albany.

They want more severe penalties for those who ignore or don't honor the ban.

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