March 2016 
Californians for Pesticide Reform
Pesticide Reform News and Action

Recent News from the CPR Coalition 

In This Issue
Fumigant Notification Workshops
Air Monitoring Network
2014 Pesticide Use Data
Max Fine for Lost Hills Drift Incident
CPR's New Directors
Quick Links
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MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD: Attend a DPR Fumigant Notification Workshop in Spreckels and Fresno
        Fumigant application next to Gabilan School, Salinas

The Department of Pesticide Regulation has announced two upcoming listening sessions to get public input for development of new notification requirements for fumigant pesticides.

Applied in massive quantities to soil before crops are planted, fumigants are among the most toxic, drift-prone and difficult-to-control pesticides used in farming. In California, they are among the most heavily used pesticides in the vicinity of homes and schools. More info on these dangerous chemicals can be found  here.

The CPR coalition has waged a long campaign for more stringent notification requirements before fumigants can be applied, in an effort both to protect communities and to encourage growers to turn to safer forms of pest control. 

 To protect communities from exposure to these hazardous chemicals, we are demanding that growers:
  • Provide notice to everyone living, working and learning within one mile of fumigant applications
  • Provide notice 7 days and 48 hours in advance
  • Notify in English and Spanish
  • Provide information on health effects, medical reimbursement, and field location.
To make sure the voices of the most harmed communities are louder than those of big ag, please plan on attending one of the workshops. Let DPR know why communities have the right to know when drift-prone toxins are let loose in their neighborhoods. Check out the agenda and announcement here

Salinas area
April 12, 2016, 6:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Spreckels Veterans Memorial Building 90 5th Street
Spreckels, CA 93962
Spreckels is approximately 5 miles from downtown Salinas.
The workshop will include simultaneous Spanish interpretation.

Fresno area
April 14, 2016, 6:00 p.m - 9:30 p.m. Mosqueda Community Center
4670 E. Butler Avenue
Fresno, CA 93702
The workshop will include simultaneous Spanish and Hmong interpretation. 

We are working on securing interpretation for indigenous languages at both sites.

DPR Proposes Improvements to Air Monitoring Network
Crop Duster After years of persistent CPR advocacy, we're happy to report that the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has proposed much-needed improvements to its Air Monitoring Network (AMN). The proposed changes were announced by DPR on Friday, in the face of strong pushback by industry representatives.

Established in 2011, the AMN monitors ambient air for multiple pesticides at three locations - Ripon, Shafter and Salinas. Given limited funding and capacity for the program, CPR has consistently pushed for better and more strategic use of DPR's monitoring resources. At the March 18 meeting of the Pesticide Registration and Evaluation Committee (PREC) which serves as the scientific and technical advisory committee for the program, CPR Steering Committee Member Anne Katten (California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation) made a compelling presentation, advocating for a num ber of key improvements including:
  • More thorough seasonal monitoring of fumigants in coastal areas
  • Moving monitoring locations closer to and downwind of agricultural operations, to better capture true exposure, including moving the Salinas monitor to another location in Salinas directly downwind of fields to better assess fumigant levels
  • Monitoring additional sites in alternating years to assess pesticide air levels under a wider variety of conditions
  • Monitoring for more pesticides of public health concern
DPR has opened a 30-day comment period for its proposed slate of improvements. Meanwhile the ag and pesticide industry is fiercely resisting any changes that might yield more and better data. 

TAKE ACTION: Let DPR know that scarce monitoring resources should be used wisely, and that best scientific practice should dictate how and where data are collected - not resistance from the industry they are set up to regulate. Email your comments to by April 15, 2016.

2014 Pesticide Use Numbers Just Released

Pounds of active ingredient (AI) per year

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation just released annual pesticide use reporting - the only reporting like it in the country - offering a glimpse into what potentially hazardous pesticides are being used in the state. 2014 data is now available here. In all, 189 million pounds of pesticide were used in California in 2014 - and that's just the active ingredients. Many more millions of pounds of inert ingredients were also used, and those are not reported.

Pesticides, whether they are sprayed, fumigated or air-blasted, are used in troubling amounts across California. This is particularly true near the state's most vulnerable populations, including schoolchildren. 

In particular, the new data show that use of Dow's cancer-causing soil fumigant Telone (1,3-D) increased, and that use was more concentrated on fewer acres. Use of the soil fumigant chloropicrin - used in World War I as a vomiting gas - also increased to the highest level ever reported in California.   

This is particularly concerning since a recent study by the University of California Los Angeles showed that exposure to these fumigant pesticides - which are among the most frequently-used pesticides near schools - in combination can lead to an even higher risk of cancer than exposure one by one.  

And they join the even larger, poorly-regulated chemical cocktail of dozens of other pesticides used near schools and homes and in fields where farmworkers can be exposed. Many of these pesticides have been linked to hormone disruption, reproductive harm and neurological impacts.   

It isn't all bad news. Use of biopesticides has increased. These products tend to be lower toxicity and tend to break down more quickly.

$180k Fine for Grower in Kern County Drift Incident
The Kern County Agricultural Commissioner has recommended the maximum fine of $180,000 against the pistachio grower responsible for pesticide drift that poisoned dozens of workers at a solar construction site in Lost Hills last August. Workers suffered a range of symptoms including headaches, nausea, vomiting and bloody nose. 

The construction crew was affected by drift from a pesticide application to a large pistachio orchard 0.6 miles from the site. The application took place overnight from about 11 pm to 4:30 am and involved airblast application from seven tractors with enclosed cabs spraying the field simultaneously. 

Residues of the pesticide  Danitol (fenpropathrin)  were found at the construction site and on the construction workers' clothing even though the application was more than a half mile away and reportedly ended over an hour before the construction workers arrived at the site. 

The incident reinforces - once again - the necessity of better protections for schools.  Current protections for schools vary wildly from county to county, and at best  are simply inadequate to prevent what happened in the dead of night at Lost Hills more than half a mile from the application. Drift happens. California schoolchildren need a full-time, one-mile buffer zone - and farmers need support as they transition to child-friendly practices near schools. 

Introducing CPR's new Co-Directors
CPR's search for a new director is over! We are very pleased to announce that acting program director  Mark Weller and acting executive director Sarah Aird have been named CPR's new co-directors. 

Sarah joined CPR core staff in February 2010, first as state field campaigner/organizer, then as co-director since 2011 and as acting executive director since summer 2015. Previously Sarah worked with the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala in Washington D.C., Amazon Watch and Friends of the Earth, and as an immigration lawyer. Sarah is fluent in Spanish. 

Mark j oined core staff in 2014 and has been a labor organizer for more than 15 years.  He is the co-author of "Dollars and Votes: How Business Campaign Contributions Subvert Democracy." Mark is based out of the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council office in Salinas, where he also serves as CPR's community organizer for Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.