Californians for Pesticide Reform 
January 2016   
Pesticide Reform News and Action

Recent News from the CPR Coalition 

In This Issue
Attend an EPA public meeting
Chlorpyrifos and Telone risk assessments
CalEPA, DPR and ARB meeting
A visit to the Santa Cruz Ag Commissioner
Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List

Make your voice heard:
Attend an EPA public meeting on response to civil rights violations 

Listening sessions are planned for five cities nationwide, including Oakland on January 20, to hear EPA's proposal to drastically water down their requirement to respond to violations under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits racial discrimination by entities that receive federal money.

In response to pressure from civil rights groups to comply with mandated deadlines for responding to Title VI complaints, the EPA is instead proposing to eliminate the deadlines, and actually remove the requirement that they respond at all

The EPA's track record on enforcing Title VI is extremely poor, with a persistent failure to investigate civil rights complaints, leaving communities that are suffering environmental injustice languishing in limbo. Even when the EPA does act, it often fails to protect communities, as happened in California when the EPA took more than a decade to resolve a case involving the discriminatory impacts of pesticide exposure on Latino schoolchildren. The EPA "settled" the case without involving the plaintiffs or the impacted community in the settlement agreement and did not secure any reduction in pesticide exposure to the schoolchildren.

Written comments on EPA's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking are due on February 12th.  

A hearing on the proposed rule change is scheduled in California tomorrow:  
January 20, 2016 - Oakland, California
Marriott Oakland City Center
1001 Broadway, Oakland CA 94607
                               Session A: 9:30am - 12pm
                               Session B: 1:30 - 4pm
                               Session C: 4:30 - 8pm

More info is  available here.

DPR's chlorpyrifos and Telone risk assessments - Dow's fingerprints all over them?
What will come from the new Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) risk assessments of chlorpyrifos and 1,3-dichloropropene (aka 1,3-D or brand name Telone), two of the most hazardous pesticides not yet banned in the US? DPR found that both pesticides pose a health risk to Californians, especially children.  

We hope this will mean strong regulations to reduce health threats. 

Our fear is that because both pesticides are manufactured by politically influential Dow AgroSciences, California may not get the protections it needs.

In the case of DPR's draft risk assessment for brain- and lung-harming chlorpyrifos, our state regulators have thus far relied on a neurodevelopmental risk factor calculated by - you guessed it -Dow AgroSciences. It is no surprise that Dow's research understates or contradicts the threats found in numerous studies done by scientists without an economic interest in the outcome, including those at UC Berkeley and UC Davis. DPR's final risk assessment needs a more accurate neurodevelopmental risk factor that is free from Dow's vested interests.

As for DPR's final 1,3-dichloropropene risk assessment, Dow's power to get special treatment remains a concern that could lead to unsafe regulatory policies. While DPR confirms that exposure to very small amounts of 1,3-D can cause cancer - even for by-standers over time - the state's 1,3-D cancer risk regulatory goal currently allows for 10 times more cancer illnesses per million people than the goal for other California pesticides.  

This is good for Dow's profit's but very bad for people.  

DPR should use the opportunity provided by this new risk assessment to, at the very least, regulate 1,3-D for the same cancer rate as other pesticides.

Take Action!
Let DPR know that we want public health protected before Dow's profits by emailing DPR director Brian Leahy and CalEPA Secretary Matthew Rodriquez 

CPR meets with CalEPA, DPR and ARB on schools and air monitoring

On January 7, CPR mobilized a large delegation to Sacramento to meet with the chiefs of CalEPA, Department of Pesticide Regulation, and the Air Resources Board. CPR core staff and steering committee members were joined by residents and community activists to demand changes to the air monitoring program and stronger protections for schools.

At the heart of our demands is a commitment to improve the state's air monitoring program and to make sure that the new regulations being planned for schools are as health-protective as possible. 

Currently, year-round ambient air monitoring stations in San Joaquin, Kern and Monterey counties are located far from fields where pesticides are being applied - and even at that distance, are showing elevated levels of highly hazardous pesticides. Our delegation expressed frustration at the lack of effective analysis of the timing and location of actual pesticide use - analysis that might help guide a more effective air monitoring program.

On schools, we repeated our demand for a one-mile buffer zone to protect kids. The upcoming regulations, we were promised, will include increased notification requirements and a statewide buffer zone - but likely not anything close to one-mile.

In the face of the agencies' repeated claim that there is no budget for more or better monitoring, and that the cost to agriculture of a one-mile buffer zone around schools would be too high, all our delegation could do was reiterate how high the stakes are for those living in farming communities. 

"You say you need substantial evidence for a one-mile buffer zone?" asked Kern County community organizer Valerie Gorospe. "Just ask a school nurse. Ask how many headaches and how many bloody noses. We've got kids affected by cancer and neurological disorders, we have women who are having miscarriages. We are not acting fast enough and we're not doing right by our kids."

"Farmworkers' lives matter," added Maricela Morales, executive director of Ventura County-based non-profit CAUSE. "Justice has been denied for farmworkers for decades. We will no longer stand for what amounts to excuses."

Although the only tangible outcome of the meeting was the promise of more meetings, we are confident that our continued pressure will lead, at a minimum, to improvements in the air monitoring program. We will keep you posted.

A Visit to the Santa Cruz County Ag Commissioner 
Concern over exposure to cancer-causing pesticides led six staff members from the Pajaro Valley Unified School District to pay a visit to the Santa Cruz County Agricultural Commissioner in December. The delegation delivered 1500 signatures demanding a one-mile buffer zone around schools and one week notification prior to applications of harmful pesticides. "What we're trying to avoid is what happened at Hall Elementary," said Francisco Rodriguez, president of the Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers. In a recent incident, children at the school were playing outside while pesticides were being applied across the street. "Teachers weren't informed in a timely manner and could not arrange to keep themselves and students safe from potential exposure," Rodriguez noted.

Pajaro Valley Unified spans two counties - Santa Cruz and Monterey - with schools in each county located close to fields where harmful pesticides are applied. While Santa Cruz abides by a five-day notification requirement for pesticide applications, the Monterey County Ag Commissioner unilaterally changed the notice period from 5 days to 72 hours. In the Hall Elementary incident, the pesticide application actually took place less than 72 hours after notification, leaving no time for the district to inform teachers. 

Concerned citizens are waiting to see what penalty will be forthcoming from the Monterey County Ag Commissioner for this violation of already minimal notification requirements.

So far, they wait in vain.