Statement: Baltimore City bans toxic pesticides

Media Contacts
Emily Scarr

State Director, Maryland PIRG; Director, Stop Toxic PFAS Campaign, PIRG

Emily Scarr

State Director, Maryland PIRG; Director, Stop Toxic PFAS Campaign, PIRG

BALTIMORE — A new law restricting the use of three toxic pesticides that can harm children and kill bees goes into effect Friday in Baltimore City. CB 20-0495 restricts the use of chlorpyrifos, neonicotinoids and glyphosate (the main ingredient in the popular weed killer RoundUp) on public and private property—including lawns, playing fields, playgrounds, and children’s facilities, with few exceptions. 

“Today is a good day for Baltimore’s parents, pet owners and beekeepers — who will all have one less health concern,” said Maryland PIRG Director Emily Scarr. “In the absence of consistently strong state and federal action, Baltimoreans should thank our city leaders for standing up to protect our health. I know I’ll feel better as I walk with my children and dog in our neighborhood.”

The three pesticides are linked to harmful effects in humans and animals:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has taken limited action on only one of these three toxic chemicals — it has banned the use of chlorpyrifos on food. In addition, a 2018 state law bans the commercial sale of neonicotinoid pesticides in Maryland, but still allowed licensed operators to apply the pesticides. 

“From our flower-covered neighborhoods  to the food on our table, we need bees and other pollinators,” said Steve Blackledge, conservation program director for Environment Maryland. “Baltimore’s new policy will keep bees buzzing and our communities charming. Bravo!”

 In 2015, Montgomery County, a half hour to the southwest, passed a similar law to restrict the use of toxic pesticides on public and private land there.

Read testimony from Environment Maryland and Maryland PIRG on CB20-0495 here. 


Environment Maryland is a citizen-based environmental advocacy organization. We work to protect clean air, clean water, and open space. We have thousands of members across the state and are based in Baltimore.

Maryland PIRG is a statewide small donor funded public interest advocacy organization based in Baltimore, with grassroots members across the state. For forty-five years we’ve stood up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society.