Non Toxic Oregon

Children especially need our commitment to adopt practices that emphasize their health over the use of poisons. Deanna Simon and her family deserve a Non Toxic Oregon.

Non Toxic Oregon en Español (coming soon)

What is Non Toxic Oregon?

Beyond Toxics has launched the Non Toxic Oregon Campaign to protect all communities from toxic pesticides when visiting parks, sporting fields and schools. Our goal is to adopt an Organic Land Care approach to keeping public facilities neat, beautiful and safe for children and pets.

NEW: Non Toxic Oregon Guide To Building a Campaign to Protect Children’s Health (PDF)

Non Toxic Oregon is a partnership with Non Toxic Neighborhoods, a campaign started in Irvine, California. The organizers of Non Toxic Neighborhoods are working hard to teach others about organic land care and have helped dozens of cities adopt organic protocols.

The Non Toxic Oregon project is perfect for rolling it out city by city, county by county or region by region! In Oregon we are working closely with Pollinator Project Rogue Valley and others to launch Non Toxic Rogue Valley. We’ve had invitations from other communities to give a presentation from experts, from Clatsop County to Jefferson County to Josephine County.

What is the Problem?

Despite warnings from top childhood health experts around the world that pesticides pose considerable risks to children, many cities and schools still use multiple poisons to control weeds and pests. In Oregon, it is common to spray a mix of glyphosate and 2,4-D with dicamba in a single application on school grounds. Anticoagulants (chemicals that prevent blood from clotting) are commonly used to kill rodents, despite the extreme danger these pesticides pose to pets, birds and children.

Elly and her daughter take a stroll near a protected West Eugene wetland. Elly, a former volunteer with Beyond Toxics’ West Eugene Environmental Health Project, cares about what chemicals her children are exposed to.

Prioritizing Children’s Health

We believe that when people visit public spaces they have the right to be free from exposure to harmful chemicals known to cause cancer, learning disabilities, immune diseases and other health problems. Children, who are more vulnerable to harm from dangerous pesticides, spend most of their childhood in schools, playgrounds, parks and ball fields. They deserve our commitment to adopt practices that emphasize children’s health over the use of poisons in the places where children spend their developmental years.

Family pets are vulnerable too

Pets are beloved members of many families and depend on their human caregivers to keep them safe. Dogs and cats can absorb the chemicals in pesticides and fertilizers and can experience the same reactions to pesticide exposure as people. These reactions may include rashes, nausea and vomiting, eye irritations, and breathing problems. Pets can also bring these chemicals inside the home on their fur and paws. Dogs are particularly susceptible to disease and death from some common pesticides. Common lawn pesticides are detectable in dogs’ urine and have been found to cause higher rates of cancer in dogs.

How can communities make the switch?

We are helping neighborhoods, cities and counties transition from using synthetic pesticides to organic landscape and pest control techniques. Beyond Toxics is proud to be teaming up with Non Toxic Neighborhoods, a group of dedicated parents and experts helping city councils and school districts eliminate synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. The approach Non Toxic Oregon takes is based on the value of creating healthy, microbe-rich soils using organic inputs. Healthy soils nurture desired plants and keep them strong so that unwanted weeds don’t have a chance to become established. Organic land care works on lawns, ball fields, golf courses and playgrounds.

Why is this important?

Health. Chemicals disrupt our body’s natural functions, resulting in harm to our health. Pesticides can cause cancer, endocrine disruption and neurological damage. Recent research is revealing that the common pesticides we’re using are associated with diseases never before suspected, such as diabetes. For children, small exposures can have big consequences. It’s not about what this is exposure is going to do to you one day at a time…but what about 10, 20, 30 years down the line?
Climate. Pesticides and fertilizers are made from petroleum-based ingredients, adding to global CO2 emissions. They also reduce the ability of soils to store carbon by killing beneficial soil microbes.
Water. Practicing organic land care reduces irrigation water use compared to pesticide-dependent landscaping, which provides significant cost savings.
Environment. In many cases, getting the basic ingredients of pesticides requires extensive, destructive mining for minerals like phosphate and potassium. Mining can permanently destroy entire landscapes and pollute water and air quality. Manufacturing and processing facilities also poison communities by polluting their local air, soils and surface and ground water. This in turn can kill local wildlife and destroy local fishing and hunting opportunities.

Success for Non Toxic Oregon

On May 9, 2018 we launched the Non Toxic Oregon Project in Southern Oregon with the help of Non Toxic Neighborhoods, a group of dedicated volunteers who have been helping dozens of cities implement organic land care for the past three years. Working with Pollinator Project Rogue Valley on our Non Toxic Rogue Valley initiative, we gathered Bob Johnson and Kim Konte from Non Toxic Irvine and Chip Osborne, owner of Osborne Organics to make a presentation to the Talen City Council. Our own staff member, Rhianna Simes, was part of the team that made a difference.

(L to R) Darby Stricker, Mayor of Talent; Bob Johnson, Non-Toxic Irvine; and City Councilor Stephanie Dolan in front of the Talent City Hall after an historic meetingto adopt organic land care in Talent.

Our first success came from the City of Talent, just north of Ashland. The above team gave incredible presentations to city officials. The evidence and science are so convincing that we have already have a success! The Mayor and City Council voted to draft a plan to implement Non Toxic Talent, which will phase out the city’s use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers on city parks and rights of ways. The Talent School District also attended the presentation and parents hope they will adopt a companion plan to the City.

What Can You Do?

(L to R) Dolly Warden, Bee City Talent volunteer; Darby Stricker, Mayor of Talent, Gerlinde Smith, Talent Garden Club Volunteer; Lisa Arkin, Beyond Toxics Executive Director; Bob Johnson, Non-Toxic Neighborhoods

You can act now to bring the positive change to your own community, city, school or county! Organic-based pest maintenance systems work! We’re seeking community partners to host in-person and video-conferencing workshops across the state. In a video-conferencing workshop, we can bring the nation’s experts right to your community meeting center, school board meeting or city council public session! We are working with a great team of soil specialists, health experts, landscape specialists and organic advisers. They are all eager to help your community be Non Toxic!

Please contact Beyond Toxics to work with us to launch a Non Toxic Neighborhood program in your part of Oregon! We’d be happy to partner with you!

For more information about how you can get involved, contact Beyond Toxics: 541-465-8860 / email:

Other initiatives in Oregon
Non Toxic Rogue Valley