April 2021
Fight for Pesticide Notification Heats Up
Pajaro Valley USD calls for Ag Commissioner to publish pesticide notices
The Pajaro Valley Unified School District is the latest elected body to call on County Ag Commissioners to provide advance notice of pesticide applications. In their March 24 meeting, the board of trustees voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution calling for statewide notification and for the Monterey and Santa Cruz County Agricultural Commissioners to post Notices of Intent to use Restricted Material pesticides in advance on the counties' websites. The resolution matches the call made by the cities of Watsonville and Greenfield. More than twenty PVUSD residents, parents and teachers gave public comment calling for pesticide notification.

Notices of Intent are already provided by growers and applicators to the Ag Commissioner prior to use of Restricted Material pesticides, those classified as the most hazardous and drift-prone. Providing this information in advance to the public would increase transparency and allow residents to take measures to protect themselves from exposure.

The very same day as the PVUSD vote, the Santa Cruz Sentinel published an op-ed by Dr. Antonio Velasco calling on Monterey County to take a lead role on pesticide notification. Forty years ago, Dr. Velasco and other Monterey Bay Area residents were instrumental in pushing for first-ever pesticide field postings. Dr. Velasco recalls:

"We fought for a posting regulation requiring skull and cross-bones signs be placed on fields sprayed with dangerous pesticides. The growers opposed the idea primarily because it would raise the awareness about pesticides in our food. Science prevailed, and the first posting regulation in the country was approved in Monterey County in 1981. Two years later, it was also passed at the state level."

Forty years on, Dr. Velasco writes,

"My hope is that the Monterey Bay will once again take leadership of toxic pesticide warnings with a 21st Century version of the 1981 Monterey County Pesticide Field-Posting ordinance, this time adding posts on the digital Web in addition to the posts in the ground."

Meanwhile the Kern County Agricultural Commissioner Glenn Fankhauser continues to defy the direct order from the Department of Pesticide Regulation to provide Notices of Intent to residents of the town of Shafter. Notification was promised to Shafter as part of a Community Emissions Reduction Plan, pursuant to the environmental justice law AB 617. A quarter million dollars in state funds was allocated for the pilot notification in Shafter, but the program continues to be stalled because of the refusal of the ag commissioner to comply.
Assembly Agriculture Committee approves proposed bond measure for resilient food & farm infrastructure

On Thursday, the Assembly Agriculture Committee passed Assembly Bill 125, the Equitable Economic Recovery, Healthy Food Access, Climate Resilient Farms and Worker Protection Bond Act with a bipartisan 10-0 vote.
AB 125 is a groundbreaking proposal to give voters the chance to approve a $3.302 billion effort to accelerate California’s economic recovery and build a healthier, more equitable and resilient food and farm system. The bill is co-sponsored by 15 organizations and has the support of more than 140 others representing farmworkers, labor, nurses, conventional and organic agriculture, food banks, environmental justice communities and more.

COVID-19 has exposed many vulnerabilities and inequalities in our state’s food supply chain and infrastructure, and AB 125 will get at the heart of these issues,” said Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister), the author of AB 125. “It is time for a better food system in our state— one that is more resilient, more sustainable, and more just. AB 125 will make major investments in both rural and urban areas of the state to increase worker safety, decrease hunger, and promote sustainable agriculture practices that will help us remain resilient in a changing climate.” 

Bond investments would improve the state’s wildfire and climate resilience, protect essential farmworkers, make sure all Californians have access to healthy food, invest in regional food processing and market infrastructure, and promote sustainable agricultural practices that reduce pollution and climate-proof our food supply. 

Representing agricultural workers in the Salinas area and a co-sponsor of the bill, CPR Steering Committee member and Executive Director of Monterey Bay Central Labor Council Cesar Lara testified in the hearing, “Farmworkers risked their health during the pandemic working in the fields to keep us fed. AB 125 takes a comprehensive approach to the economic recovery of our food system, and importantly would provide critical housing for farmworkers, provide a stockpile of protective equipment, and improve indoor air quality in farmworker housing.”

“This bill will provide the resources that farmers and ranchers need to cut climate pollution and maintain a viable and sustainable agriculture in California," said Jeanne Merrill, Policy Director with CalCAN, one of the bill's sponsors. "It’s time to invest in our food and farming infrastructure of the future.”

For more information, please refer to the AB 125 Coalition website: VoteForYourFood.org. The full text of the bill is available here and a summary is here.

AB 125 coauthors:
Assemblymembers Aguiar-Curry (D-Davis), Bloom (D-Santa Monica), E. Garcia (D-Coachella), Kalra (D-San Jose), Levine (D-San Rafael), Stone (D-Monterey Bay), and Santiago (D-Los Angeles) and Villapudua (D-Stockton)

AB 125 sponsors:
Agricultural Institute of Marin, American Farmland Trust, California Certified Organic Farmers, California Climate & Agriculture Network, Californians for Pesticide Reform, Carbon Cycle Institute, Center for Food Safety, Central California Environmental Justice Network, Centro Binacional para el Desarrollo Indígena Oaxaqueño, Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF), Monterey Bay Central Labor Council, Natural Resources Defense Council, Pesticide Action Network, Roots of Change, Sustainable Agriculture Education.
Sneak Peek: CPR's New Pesticide Drift Guide
We are excited to launch our brand-new and improved pocket guide to pesticide drift, The Dangers of Pesticide Exposure/ Los peligros de la exposición a los pesticidas. Totally revised from the old version in response to community feedback, the new guides are much easier to use with a more graphic format, index tabs and simplified text.

There are separate versions for the California Coast and the San Joaquin Valley/Inland Empire, and each version is available in English and Spanish.

The new guide includes information on pesticide drift, the symptoms of exposure, how to report, your rights at work and at home, and contact information for organizations that can help you if you are a victim of drift.

The guide is available to download and print on our website, and print copies are coming soon.

We want to extend a huge thank you to our amazing graphic designer Kassandra Beckmann for her beautiful work and to the California Air Resources Board for their generous funding.
Let the state know: Pesticide reduction strategies belong in climate, biodiversity, conservation plans
Photo Credit: Stock photos by Vecteezy

The California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) is helping to design a statewide plan on how to carry out Governor Newsom's Executive Order N-82-20 to conserve 30% of California’s lands and coastal waters by 2030 and accelerate climate change solutions from natural and working lands (forests, rangelands, farms, wetlands, coast, deserts and urban greenspaces).

We know from experience that the impact of 200+ million pounds of pesticides used each year in California is nearly always left out of these conversations. It’s critical pesticide use be taken into account in this statewide plan, and we need your help to ensure pesticide reduction strategies are included. Here’s how you can help:

1. Join one of CNRA’s 9 virtual regional workshops from April 20 - May 11 (each date is devoted to a particular region, but you can join any of them). Make a public comment and tell CNRA why it’s important the agency include pesticide reduction strategies in this statewide effort to conserve California lands and protect biodiversity.

2. Fill out CNRA’s 15 question Input Questionnaire by May 14 and call out the need to include pesticide reduction strategies in the fight to address climate change, conserve lands and protect biodiversity.

For more information, check out www.CaliforniaNature.ca.gov.
To sign-up for email updates direct from CNRA, email CaliforniaNature@resources.ca.gov with “NBS” in the subject line.

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 is inviting scientific input at this time, and will be inviting public comment at a later date.