March 2021
Greenfield & Watsonville City Councils Call for Pesticide Notification
Kern Ag Commissioner continues to defy state, won't provide public notice
The Greenfield City Council voted 4-0 this month in favor of a resolution calling on the Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner to post advance notice of hazardous pesticide use on the county website. In the March 9 City Council meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Untalon noted that her son's allergies were severely exacerbated by pesticide exposure, and that notification would enable her to take simple preventive measures such as closing the window.

More than a dozen community residents provided public comment in support of the resolution, which passed unanimously.

The action in Greenfield follows a similar resolution approved in Watsonville in October, calling on the Santa Cruz Ag Commissioner to publicly post Notices of Intent (NOI) to use pesticides classified as Restricted Materials.

Meanwhile, three months after the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) ordered Kern County Agricultural Commissioner Glenn Fankhauser to implement a pilot notification program for the town of Shafter, no progress has been made, with the Ag Commissioner still maintaining his defiant stance.

The heavily pollution-burdened town of Shafter was selected in 2018 for development of a plan to reduce air emissions under the environmental justice law AB 617. Among the measures approved by the California Air Resources Board was a pilot notification program, for which DPR was allocated $250,000. From the beginning, however, the Ag Commissioner has made clear he will not negotiate, with a take-it-or-leave-it offer of door hanger notices for homes within 200' of applications of a single pesticide, 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D). The current label for 1,3-D already requires door hanger notices for residences within 100'.

The community has asked for NOIs for all Restricted Material pesticide use within 7 miles of Shafter to be published in advance on the county website.

In an effort to break the impasse, DPR proposed a compromise, offering to post NOIs for just four fumigant pesticides on the state website, relieving the Ag Commissioner of the duty to post them himself. But Fankhauser won't turn over the NOIs to DPR, while still refusing to post them himself.

We're still waiting for the state to assert their unquestioned authority to ask this information of an ag commissioner, who by law serves under DPR's direction and supervision.

The demand for advance notification is growing, with a flurry of media in the Central Coast and San Joaquin Valley, recently culminating in the Bakersfield Californian joining the community call for statewide notification.
Join us! Support a more resilient and equitable food and farming system
On Tuesday, Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D- Hollister) announced his introduction of a sweeping bill to address long-persisting challenges within our food and farming system, called the Equitable Economic Recovery, Healthy Food Access, Climate Resilient Farms and Worker Protection Bond Act (AB 125).

Californians for Pesticide Reform is a member of the diverse coalition co-sponsoring AB 125, and two CPR Steering Committee members, Cesar Lara of the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council and Nayamin Martinez of the Central California Environmental Justice Network, joined in Tuesday’s exciting announcement.
If you missed the live press conference, you can watch it here.
For the first time, AB 125 will give voters the opportunity to invest in building the infrastructure needed to provide Californians with a safe, reliable, healthy, and environmentally-sustainable food supply. This measure aims to deliver healthy food to the most vulnerable Californians while helping farmers transition to more ecological farming practices that protect community health and air and water quality, and make farms more resilient to climate change, droughts, wildfires, and other extreme weather. It also makes investments in disadvantaged communities, socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, Tribes, small- and medium-sized farms and small businesses to ensure an equitable economic recovery for California. 
The four main areas in the bond are:
  1. Investments in Protections for Farmworkers ($637 million)
  2. Investments in Agricultural Solutions to Address Climate, Air and Water Quality Crises ($1.135 billion)
  3. Investments to Combat Hunger and Improve Healthy Food Access ($750 million)
  4. Investments in our Regional Food Economies ($600 million)
Click here for a summary of AB 125, and here for the full bill language.

To learn more about the bond, visit
State proposes increase in pesticide fees, higher rates for more hazardous chemicals
California state lawmakers will soon vote on a budget proposal that could help protect communities from toxic pesticides and make our food and agricultural systems healthier for future generations.

This proposal would modernize the fees imposed on pesticide sales, which haven't been updated in nearly two decades, to better reflect the risks and burdens posed by the most dangerous pesticides. It would also invest in critical new health and safety programs.

The proposal would introduce tiered fees, with higher fees for the most acutely hazardous pesticides, a significant innovation intended to incentivize use of less hazardous alternatives.
State agrees to establish safe level for cancer-causing fumigant 1,3-D (Telone)
The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has agreed to a petition filed by CPR to establish a Prop. 65 No Significant Risk Level (NSRL) for the cancer-causing fumigant pesticide 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D, or Telone), the third most heavily used pesticide in California. An NSRL is a “safe harbor” level at which an exposure poses no significant risk. Businesses must provide warnings for exposures above an NSRL.

OEHHA's intervention on this hazardous chemical is both timely and welcome. In response to legal action by CPR and allies, a court in 2018 found that DPR had violated the regulatory process for 1,3-D, and ordered DPR to develop a legal rule "in concert with OEHHA." But three years later no rule has been proposed, and DPR has now appealed the requirement that they work in concert with OEHHA.

In the past, OEHHA has strenuously opposed DPR's lifetime cancer risk level calculation as far too lenient, recommending a more than fourfold decrease in the exposure level adopted by DPR in 2016. OEHHA's acceptance of CPR's "Safe Harbor" petition therefore has the potential to influence DPR's rulemaking in a more health-protective direction.

In 2018, the highest level of 1,3-D ever recorded was measured in Shafter (Kern County), a record that was broken later that same year in Parlier (Fresno County). No mitigations have been proposed or implemented in response to these extremely high levels.

DPR is conducting a small-scale pilot program to test emissions reduction strategies, and plans to use the results to inform the proposed regulation. Meanwhile, millions of pounds of 1,3-D continue to be unleashed on farming communities in California every year. This drift-prone carcinogenic fumigant has long been banned in 27 EU nations, the UK and Sri Lanka.

OEHHA is inviting scientific input at this time, and will be inviting public comment at a later date.
State announces new workgroup to plan for transition to safe pest management
Photo credit: Joan Cusick
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation and California Department of Food and Agriculture have launched a new work group to accelerate the systemwide adoption of safer, sustainable pest control practices. Among the 26 members are two CPR Steering Committee members: Nayamin Martinez, Executive Director of Central California Environmental Justice Network and Margaret Reeves, Senior Scientist at Pesticide Action Network.

“Transitioning away from toxic pesticides requires us to speed up the development of effective alternatives," said CalEPA Secretary Jared Blumenfeld in a press statement. "By giving our farmers a suite of integrated pest management tools, we can better protect farmworkers and some of California's most vulnerable communities. This dynamic task force will give us the roadmap to achieve this bold vision."