MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - Mount Pleasant is exploring ways to maintain their recreational fields without using pesticides.
They’re teaming up with a non-profit, Beyond Pesticides that’s dedicated to converting systems to chemical-free.
The board president of the nonprofit and pediatrician, Dr. Routt Reigart, says it’s about a three-year transition for the fields to become organic.
The process involves improving the soil, growing methods and only using chemicals approved by the National Organics Standards Board.
Reigart has published research articles and journals saying that low-level pesticide exposure among children in some cases is associated with autism and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
“We don’t say this is the cause, but we say you can help your children by decreasing their exposure to pesticides. So don’t use pesticides in your home, eat organic, buy as much organic as you can,” Reigart said. “Even if you can’t afford all organic you can choose the less chemically dangerous foods.”
Mount Pleasant is doing a trial run by using all organic means to maintain four fields at the Carolina Park Soccer Fields.
It is expected to begin in the spring.
“We didn’t use pesticides at all until the second World War so prior to 1950 or 1955 all agriculture was chemical-free,” Reigart said. “What we’re trying to do is return to the paradigm of good cultural practice, sound soul and healthy crops and healthy yards and gardens.”
Beyond Pesticides is providing a majority of the funds to transform the fields.
"We have learned through the years that each so-called safe pesticide turns out to not be safe and we've also learned that effects can occur at very low levels," Reigart said.
Through his research, he says there are impacts at levels that the Environmental Protection Agency says is safe.
Beyond Pesticides says there are no other communities doing this in Southeast.
Adjunct faculty member at College of Charleston Professor Bea Lavelle with the Health and Human Performance Department supports an organic community.
She's been involved in the push for Mount Pleasant to go chemical-free.
“This is vital to the health of our community our citizens our environment and especially our children,” Lavelle said.