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  SCEC Press Releases
Action Update:  US Soccer and ChemLawn

Several months ago, CCFC sent a public letter to US Youth Soccer (USYS) asking them to end their sponsorship agreement with ChemLawn. Under this agreement, ChemLawn used USYS address lists to send mailings that were clearly designed to get soccer players to nag their parents for ChemLawn’s potentially toxic products. (You can read the letter at

Then we asked for your help and you responded. Hundreds of you wrote letters to US Youth Soccer and demanded that they sever their ties to ChemLawn.

We are happy to report that all of our efforts paid off. ChemLawn is no longer a sponsor of US Youth Soccer. It is great that ChemLawn will no longer be able to exploit children's love of soccer to market toxic pesticides to families. And it is gratifying to see that we can make a real difference.

Thanks to the individuals and organizations who participated in this campaign!



October 5, 2004

For Immediate Release         

Contact:  Josh Golin 617-896-9369, josh<at>

Child and Environmental Advocates Urge US Youth Soccer to Give TruGreen/ChemLawn Partnership the Boot

Citing concerns about exploiting children to market toxic products to their families, thirty prominent children’s and environmental organizations sent a public letter today to US Youth Soccer (USYS) asking them not to renew their sponsorship agreement with TruGreen/ChemLawn.

Since the partnership was announced in May, 2003, TruGreen/Chemlawn, using address lists provided by USYS, has sent mailings addressed to “The Family of” young soccer players touting ChemLawn’s services.  The mailings explicitly state several times that TruGreen/ChemLawn will donate a percentage of each purchase to USYS.

“These mailings are not only a violation of children’s privacy, but a transparent attempt to get children to nag their parents for ChemLawn’s services,” said Dr. Susan Linn, of Harvard’s Judge Baker Children’s Center and author of Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood.  “Marketers are constantly looking for ways to make it harder for parents to say no – in this case by equating support of their children’s soccer team with hiring a company to dump pesticides on their lawn.”

Studies have linked lawn pesticides to birth defects, liver and kidney damage, and neurological disorders.  Children are more likely to come into contact with lawn pesticides and are more vulnerable to their effects.  The use of pesticides has been linked to an increased risk of childhood illnesses including non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, brain cancer, and leukemia.

The letter calls on USYS to:

  • Protect children’s health by not renewing their sponsorship agreement with ChemLawn when the current agreement expires in December, 2004.

  • Protect children’s privacy by refusing to share their contact information with TruGreen/ChemLawn –or any other corporate sponsors.

  • Refrain from working with corporate partners whose products and/or practices may cause harm to children.

The letter was written by the coalition to Stop Commercial Exploitation of Children, a national advocacy group that counters the harmful effects of marketing to children.  Signatories include organizations concerned about the commercialization of childhood as well as and environmental and public health advocacy groups concerned about the harmful effects of pesticides.

Parents with concerns about the ChemLawn/US Youth Soccer Partnership should can send a letter to USYS President David Messersmith and Director of Marketing Chris Branscome by visiting:

The complete text of the letter and its signatories can be found at:







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