Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association


Maine people will benefit from a simple system to inform neighbors about pesticides that could drift onto their properties, affect the health of their families, create an economic burden from loss of crops, or poison their environment.

Photo reproduced by permission from Vaillancourt, L. J., and J. R. Hartman. 2000. Apple scab. The Plant Health Instructor. DOI: 10.1094/PHI-I-2000-1005-01.

The Problem:

  • Pesticides can cause serious health effects, including birth defects, cancer, asthma, developmental disabilities, and even death.
  • Pesticides can contaminate organically grown produce, making it unfit to market as organic and leading to economic losses.
  • Pesticide spray can drift off-target and impact the health and property of neighboring families and businesses.
  • Some studies indicate that less than one tenth of one percent of pesticides actually reaches the targeted pests.
  • Information systems on pesticide spraying are confusing, burdensome and incomplete, making it difficult for neighbors to get timely information. Also, many people feel uneasy about confronting neighbors whose pesticides drift off target.
  • There is no current requirement that neighbors be notified about pesticide spraying unless a neighbor who resides within 500 feet specifically requests it. Maine’s Board of Pesticides Control is attempting to strengthen notification requirements but proposed language falls short.
 Photo by Will Sugg.

The Solution:

  • Maine can establish a simple, clear, and comprehensive pesticide spray notification system to help landowners, neighbors, and small farmers.
  • “An Act To Require Citizen Notification of Pesticide Applications Using Aerial Spray or Air-Carrier Application Equipment” would:
    • Require land managers to notify neighbors (whose property abuts or lies within 1320 feet of the intended spray area) of their intentions to conduct outdoor pesticide applications using aerial or air-carrier spray equipment.
    • Establish an opt-in registry for neighbors wishing to receive detailed information about such pesticide applications taking place within a quarter mile of their property.


Heather Spalding, Associate Director, Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association, 207-568-4142,
Meredith Small, Organizing Director, Toxics Action Center, 207-871-8035,

Representative Seth Berry of Bowdoinham has introduced this important notification bill, An Act To Require Citizen Notification of Pesticide Applications Using Aerial Spray or Air-Carrier Application Equipment.

Please contact your legislators in Augusta and ask them to support Representative Berry's bill. Let them know how important it is to you to be informed about pesticide spraying in your neighborhood.

Find contact information for your legislators here.

Look for updates on this legislation in MOFGA's weekly bulletin.