California Poised to Tighten Rules on Pesticide Spraying Near Schools
November 30, 2016 | Sacramento Bee
The Sacramento Bee discusses a new pesticide application proposal, spurred by a CDPH/Public Health Institute report from the California Environmental Health Tracking Program.
"The policy, released in September and open for public comment until Dec. 9, would ban pesticide application by aircraft, sprinkler, powder and gas between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday to Friday within a quarter-mile of schools and child care facilities. Farmers have historically needed county permits for pesticide applications near schools, but the new rule would be the first state policy to put a blanket restriction on such aerial spraying.
"The debate over pesticide spraying near schools flared up in 2015, when the California Department of Public Health released a survey of 2,500 schools in the 15 counties with the most agricultural pesticide use in California. The study found that 36 percent of those schools – or about 900 of them – had “pesticides of concern” sprayed within a quarter-mile of campus. It also found that Hispanic children were 91 percent more likely than white children to attend schools with the most pesticide use nearby.
"Between 900 and 2,000 pounds of pesticides were sprayed near a handful of schools in Sacramento and Yolo counties in one year, the report found, including at Plainfield Elementary in Woodland, Fairfield Elementary in Davis and Bates Elementary School and Mokelumne High School in the city of Courtland in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Pesticides sprayed included chlorpyrifos, which is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as moderately toxic to humans, and paraquat dichloride, which the agency calls a restricted-use pesticide, meaning it has “the potential to cause unreasonable adverse effects to the environment and injury to applicators or bystanders without added restrictions.”