What is the purpose of “Think Before You Spray”?

The purpose is to communicate to the general public about the use and misuse of toxins on private property and ornamental landscapes and educate Marin residents about pesticide alternatives in their yards and gardens. We hope this educational effort will lead to behavior changes that ultimately reduce the volume of toxic chemicals in the natural environment and in our neighborhoods. The first focus of this campaign is on weeds.

Whose campaign is this?

This campaign is a collaboration of the County of Marin, the Integrated Pest Management Commission, and community members.

Are pesticides toxic?

Pesticides may be harmful to people, animals, birds, beneficial insects and our water. Read the product label to find out potential hazards for your specific product. All pesticides have labels that include signal words denoting their toxicity. For more information on signal words see http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/signalwords.pdf

Didn’t California just list Roundup as a “probable carcinogen”?

According to California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), glyphosate, the active ingredient in products like Roundup, is currently under consideration for being added to the Chemicals Considered or Listed Under Proposition 65.  https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65/chemicals/glyphosate

What is “a pest”?

The University of California Integrated Pest Management (UC IPM) website describes pests as “organisms that damage or interfere with desirable plants in our fields and orchards, landscapes, or wildlands, or damage homes or other structures. Pests also include organisms that impact human or animal health. Pests may transmit disease or may be just a nuisance.” They vary season to season, and home to home; what might be a pest in one environment may be of negligible concern in another.

What is “Integrated Pest Management”?

Traditional pest control involves the routine application of pesticides.

In contrast, Integrated Pest Management, or “IPM” for short, focuses on pest prevention and uses pesticides only as needed.

This provides a more effective, environmentally sensitive, and often less expensive approach.

IPM programs take advantage of all appropriate pest management strategies that do the least harm to the environment, but also includes the judicious use of pesticides when other methods are not effective first. Preventive pesticide application is limited because the risk of pesticide exposure may outweigh the benefits of control, especially when non-chemical methods provide the same results.

IPM is not a single pest control method but rather involves integrating multiple control methods based on individual sites. It’s not a “one size fits all” approach.

Consequently, every IPM program is designed based on the pest prevention goals and eradication needs of the location.

Is there someone who can present this information to my homeowners’ association, school, or community group?

Yes! Let us know if your group is interested in a presentation by emailing info@yardsmartmarin.org and we will try to accommodate your request.

How can I help?

You’ve already started by visiting this website yardsmartmarin.org. You can take the pledge to “Think Before You Spray”, sign up for quarterly updates, and volunteer with our grassroots community action teams. You can learn more about pesticide alternatives and the grassroots outreach efforts of our action teams.

Who is paying for this campaign?

The Marin County Board of Supervisors, responding to the community’s expressed interest and recognizing the environmental and public health benefits of dramatically reducing the use of toxins in the landscaped environment, committed $100,000 in funding for a two-year public education and outreach campaign. The San Francisco Estuary Partnership, as part of the EPA-funded SF Bay Water Quality Improvement Fund grant program, provided an additional $90,040 contract for campaign development support.

Are you coordinating with other Marin environmental organizations?

Yes, our action teams and outreach efforts include support by a broad coalition of the Marin community, and include members of the public who represent specific sectors and perspectives: native plant experts, retail and professional pest control operators, environmental experts, IPM experts, public health and animal health experts, master gardeners, and youth representation.