Bill Couzens lauded for promoting safety of schoolchildren©Times Community Newspapers 2006

Two years ago, some concerned Virginians contacted Gov. Mark Warner’s administration regarding the dangers of agricultural spraying adjacent to schools, for both pesticide drift and accidents associated with placing such sites where children are at risk.

In response, Warner’s administration asked environmental health advocate Bill Couzens to collaborate with the Pesticide Control Board and the Office of Pesticide Services to develop “best management practices to reduce drift for sensitive areas, including schools.”

On Oct. 13, 2005, Couzens was honored in a letter from Robert S. Bloxum, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry: “I want to thank you for your diligence and efforts to alert the state to the possible risks of the application of chemicals. You have raised the awareness of higher education and government agencies about the importance of Best Management Practices.”

Bloxum continued, “We do recommend to localities that pesticide application sites not be located next to schools and they are subject to state review.”

Sound science, the EPA, CDC, NIH and other federal agencies have for years warned of the dangers to human health, including cancer, relative to pesticide drift.

Couzens said, “This is only a small step towards keeping children in schools safe from both pesticide drift and agricultural accidents … It is crucial that in protecting communities we not lose sight of the importance to advance and promote sound agricultural practices that will enhance and foster Virginia’s proud agricultural heritage.”

As founder and executive director of Next Generation Choices Foundation, Couzens is charged to advance and implement sustainable solutions for the Next Generation’s mission: intervening on toxic and cancer-causing environmental exposures.

Couzens founded the organization upon the death of his sister from cancer and is an advocate for the environment and human health. Couzens has been published on the subject and is frequently called on to comment or speak about the environment and human health.

The Next Generation Choices Foundation may be reached at .

©Times Community Newspapers 2006