Chesapeake PSR

Toxics and Health

Chesapeake PSR works to protect people and the environment from toxic pollutants in Maryland and Virginia.

Toxic pollution causes - or is suspected to cause - cancer, birth defects, reproductive issues and other serious illnesses. Toxic air pollutants in Maryland and Virginia may cause neurological, reproductive, developmental and respiratory illnesses. Exposure to certain toxic pollutants can even cause death. Children are more vulnerable to the harmful effects of toxins because their brains, nervous systems and organs are still developing.

Chesapeake PSR actively supports the following efforts to minimize the health effects of toxic pollutants in Maryland and Virginia:

  • Efforts to improve current policies and programs for medical and environmental interventions in Virginia, Maryland and Baltimore with respect to children with elevated blood lead levels. We also work to identify information, data and knowledge gaps in current surveillance and intervention efforts.
  • Efforts to minimize toxic air pollution from Maryland and Virginia coal-fired power plants and to stop the waste-to-energy incinerators from being built in Maryland. Chesapeake PSR's Gwen DuBois, MD, MPH, was an important health voice in a coalition that successfully stopped the building of the Curtis Bay, Baltimore incinerator. Chesapeake PSR does this work jointly with our climate change and energy program. 
  • Passage of a Healthy Lawn Care law in Montgomery County, Maryland. The aim of this law, which passed in 2015, is to halt the use of cosmetic lawn care pesticides, therefore reducing exposure to chemicals that may cause cancers and other health ailments including endocrine disruption and asthma. A judge overturned the law, and Montgomery County is appealing.
  • Passage of the Maryland Pollinator Protection Act (passed in 2016), established labeling requirements for any seed, plant material or nursery stock that uses neonicotinoid pesticides and limited the sale of these pesticides to professionally qualified applicants. Neonicotinoids affect an exposed insect's nervous system, causing paralysis and death. Read Chesapeake PSR's testimony.