Californians for Pesticide Reform 
October 2014  
Pesticide Reform News and Action

Recent News from the CPR Coalition 

In This Issue
Legislative Roundup
Chlorpyrifos: Taking Action to Reduce Exposure
Welcome Angel and Mariel
Quick Links

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Legislative Roundup - Big Gains for Pesticide Reform in California


CPR Wins State Funding for Fumigant Replacement Research and Development 


Building upon Gov. Brown's 2012 commitment of $700,000 for fumigant alternatives research, CPR secured an approved budget line-item for $1.8 million in state funding over the next three years for grants to research and field test safe fumigant replacements. Scientists and growers agree this research is critical to ensuring safe and effective replacement products and practices are field ready at scale, which would finally allow California to wean off of fumigants. Although full transition will take more than three years, this is an important step to securing a longer-term state commitment to transition away from fumigants, and we will continue to push for the establishment of an ongoing, fully funded program to see it through.  


An outgrowth of our state budget advocacy is that the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is conducting a review of the California Department of Agriculture's (DPR) risk assessment process. We previously worked with State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson to push for a review of DPR's decision-making processes for pesticide use, and DPR Director Brian Leahy subsequently agreed to this NAS review. CPR is currently watchdogging the process and attending hearings to make sure that the NAS committee hears multiple perspectives on DPR's performance. We see this oversight work as critical in supporting the potential for positive change in how California regulates pesticides.


CPR Advances State Legislative Gains for Pesticide Exposure Reduction


We also saw significantly more legislative progress than in recent years, with the following bills being signed into law in 2014:


SB 1405 (DeSaulnier): School facilities' pesticide use.

SB 1405 requires: 1) training for school staff if a school chooses to have staff apply pesticides on its grounds, 2) reporting all pesticide applications on school grounds (including applications by school staff) to DPR, and 3) that all schools have Integrated Pest Management Plans. 


SB 1167 (Hueso): Vector control: rodents.

SB 1167 requires building code enforcement officers to order landlords not only to eradicate a pest infestation but also to remediate any underlying conditions (leaks, cracks and crevices, etc.) contributing to the infestation.


SB 1117 (Monning): Pesticide Groundwater Contamination Prevention.  

SB 1117 instructs DPR to develop a peer-reviewed method that reflects the best available science to determine which pesticides have the potential to contaminate groundwater. It requires DPR to review and potentially cancel or modify the use of a pesticide if its breakdown products are found in water.


AB 1789 (Williams): Pesticides: neonicotinoids: reevaluation: determination.

AB 1789 establishes a 2018 deadline for DPR to finally complete its long-delayed evaluation on neonicotinoid ("neonics") pesticides. With neonics increasingly linked to bee declines, protecting bees is critical to the success of the agricultural industry as well as backyard gardens in California.


SB 1332 (Wolk): Pesticides: carbon monoxide pest control devices. 

SB 1332 gives DPR the authority to regulate the use of carbon monoxide pest control devices and protect children from the health risk of this odorless, colorless and hazardous gas.  


AB 2657 (Bloom): Wildlife habitat areas: use of anticoagulants

AB 2657 prohibits the use of anticoagulant pesticides in wildlife areas. Coupled with our successful work with allies to ban the retail sale of anticoagulant rodenticides, significant progress was made this year in protecting pets, wildlife and people from secondary poisoning.  


Unfortunately, bills to require neighbor notifications, buffer zones, and better field posting for pesticide applications (SB 1411) and labeling of genetically modified food (SB 1381) failed due to strong opposition from the agriculture and pesticide industries.

Pressure Builds for Action on Chlorpyrifos



Thousands of community members and children's health advocates engaged in a week of action in September to ramp up pressure for California to phase out the brain-harming pesticide chlorpyrifos. They joined CPR in calling on DPR to provide better leadership in protecting children from this dangerous chemical, which is linked to decreased IQ and increased ADHD and autism risk.


Public activities included a Twitter chat highlighting the health harms of chlorpyrifos; an informative webinar on the science of these health harms, the struggles of Central Valley communities that have been exposed, and what is being done to phase it out; and a Twitter 'storm' calling for DPR to take action. In Monterey County, where chlorpyrifos use near public schools is among the highest in the state, educators and organized labor held a press conference demanding immediate action to protect children. Finally, in Sacramento, CPR members called on DPR for immediate and substantive action, handing over more than 25,000 petition signatures from across the state demanding the agency address the threat.


We extend our deepest thanks to CPR Steering Committee member Pesticide Action Network North America for spearheading and coordinating the events.


Take More Action on Chlorpyrifos Now!


Unfortunately, DPR chose not to hear the voices of the people and instead stayed the course with a more industry-friendly regulatory proposal. On September 26th, DPR proposed to designate chlorpyrifos a 'restricted use' pesticide, which would make chlorpyrifos subject to slightly stronger restrictions (in a few counties) on applications and would force growers to request permits from County Agricultural Commissioners (CACs) before chlorpyrifos applications. But CACs rarely deny permits, and the restrictions to which chlorpyrifos will be newly subject are not remotely sufficient for protecting California children. DPR had the opportunity to recommend stronger permit conditions with real significance, such as a prohibition on the worst application types like aerial and aerial blast applications, but chose not to do so.


Building on the growing public understanding of how dangerous chlorpyrifos is and how little DPR is doing to protect us from it, CPR is pursuing multiple tracks. We're urging individuals to sign a petition and organizations to join a sign-on letter to Governor Brown, urging him to order the department to take immediate action to decrease exposure to children now, while also beginning the process of phasing this dangerous chemical out of the market entirely. We're also asking organizations to submit letters to DPR during their regulatory comment period, (which ends November 12), on the proposed regulation, calling for DPR to take stronger measure than what they've proposed.


To take individual action: please sign the petition to Gov. Brown here:


Ask the Governor to Protect Kids from Chlorpyrifos


To take organizational action: 1) join our organizational sign-on letter to Gov. Brown and/or 2) send in a letter to DPR during the comment period (we have templates!) by contacting

The CPR Family Keeps Expanding

CPR is thrilled to announce that Steering Committee Member El Quinto Sol de Am�rica (EQS) has hired Angel Garcia as a full-time Community Organizer to work on pesticide issues in Tulare County. Angel was born in the San Joaquin Valley and is of Mixteco (indigenous Mexican) origin. Before joining EQS, he worked organizing indigenous Mexican communities as a Project Coordinator at the Centro Binacional Para El Desarollo Indigena Oaxaque�o (Binational Center for the Development of Indigenous Communities). He has a B.A. in Latin American Studies and Politics from UC Santa Cruz.


We also have a new CPR intern for the fall! Mariel Romero is a graduate student in anthropology and public health at the University of North Texas who is writing her thesis on the experiences and perceptions of rural residents in Tulare and Monterey counties regarding pesticide exposure risk. In addition to conducting research and interviews to support this report, she will also be working with the CPR staff on communications and outreach. Mariel is a native of southern California and excited to be spending time in her home state again. Don't be surprised if you receive a call from her soon!