New York state would phase out the use of most pesticides by state agencies and adopt an interagency pest management program, under a bill approved by the state Assembly May 5 (A. 5848).

The bill now goes to the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee. It would eliminate pesticide use in three phases, beginning in 2010 with those classified as Toxicity Category I by the Environmental Protection Agency. Category II pesticides would be banned in 2011, followed by the remaining pesticides in 2012. Toxicity Category I pesticides are the most toxic under the system used by EPA, which includes four categories.

The bill was part of a package of environmental bills approved by the Assembly.

Under the legislation, the state would permit the use of: pesticides to maintain safe drinking water; antimicrobials; pesticides contained in rodent control baits; and pesticides that EPA has classified as exempt materials.

The bill would allow the state to suspend the law in cases of emergency or when the state health commissioner determines that the use of pesticides is necessary.

The Assembly also passed a bill (A. 1334) that would establish a State Urban Pesticide Board to examine the use of pesticides in urban areas. The board would make recommendations to the governor and Legislature for reducing pesticide use, conduct education and outreach, and improve enforcement of pesticide laws.

In addition, the Legislature approved a bill (A. 6919) to prohibit the sale of products containing bisphenol-A), and a bill (A. 7573) to prohibit the manufacture, processing, or distribution of the flame retardant decabrominated diphenyl ether in most products.

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