Californians for Pesticide Reform 
May 2014  
Pesticide Reform News and Action

Recent News from the CPR Coalition 

In This Issue
Pesticide Use Near California Schools Worse Than Previously Thought
CPR Backs Pesticide Bills
CPR Briefs Decisionmakers on Pesticides and Children's Health
New Additions to the CPR Family
Quick Links

Join Our Mailing List
  Pesticide use near California schools  
worse than previously thought  


Despite strong opposition from industry and County Agricultural Commissioners, on Friday, April 25th, the California Department of Public Health (DPH) quietly released its long-awaited report on pesticide use near public schools. "Agricultural Pesticide Use Near Public Schools in California" quantitatively shows that difficult-to-control pesticides known to harm children's health and learning are widely used near public schools in the 15 California counties with the highest agricultural pesticide use. DPH refrained from making specific policy recommendations, but the report underscores what public health advocates have long known: schoolchildren in the state's agricultural areas, particularly Latino children, are regularly put at risk of pesticide poisoning at school by nearby agricultural operations.


In response to DPH's findings, CPR issued our own report to provide further analysis and policy recommendations. "Protecting their potential: Ensuring California's School Children Are Protected from Hazardous Pesticides" recommends the following to safeguard children's health and intelligence:

  • Make significant investments in research and support for growers to transition California to safe, sustainable replacements for fumigants and the insecticide chlorpyrifos by 2020.
  • Establish large "protection zones" around schools to maximize distance between schools and pesticide applications.
  • Require notification of nearby schools before application of hazardous agricultural pesticides.

Already postponed a year due to opposition from industry and County Agricultural Commissioners, DPH planned to release the report earlier in the week, but delayed until April 25th after another agency requested additional time to review it. The timing of this request appeared suspicious to many, as the report would have put pressure on the Senate Agricultural Committee to vote in favor of a bill scheduled for an April 24th hearing. Authored by Senator Hannah Beth Jackson, the bill - SB 1411 - would have required notification of nearby homes and schools prior to agricultural pesticide applications and additional safety information on pesticide field postings. Unfortunately, the Senate Agriculture Committee failed to pass this common sense bill. Senator Lieu cast the lone supporting vote, with Senators Berryhill, Cannella, Galgiani, and Wolk voting against.


CPR's report and press conferences garnered significant media coverage and are spurring much-needed dialogue about resolving this threat to children's health. We will continue this effort to prevent the poisoning of children, whose smaller size and developing brains make them particularly vulnerable to pesticide exposure.

If you are interested in getting engaged in this issue, please contact Sarah Aird

CPR backs pesticide bills


Pesticides are a hot issue this year in Sacramento. The 2014 legislative session has already seen seven bills introduced to better protect Californians from pesticide exposure. As seen by the failure of SB 1411, however, the industry still retains significant power in the state house. CPR lent formal support to all seven bills, which are at various stages in the legislative process. Highlights include:


SB 1167 (Hueso): Vector control: rodents.

This bill would require that landlords not only eradicate pest infestations, but also remediate any underlying structural conditions contributing to the development of the infestation. Removing the source of the problem will generally result in less pesticide use. SB 1167 has received broad support and passed out of the Senate.


SB 1381 (Evans): Food labeling: genetically engineered food.

This bill would require labels for all foods containing genetically engineered ingredients. It is a simpler, clearer version of Proposition 37 (which was narrowly defeated in 2012) and would allow Californians to make informed choices about the food they put on their tables. This is especially important due to the fact that most genetically engineered crops are designed to be pesticide-resistant, which spurs even greater use and concentration of pesticides in food. SB 1381 has passed out of the Senate Judiciary and Health Committees and is in Appropriations. 


More information on California pesticide bills 

 CPR briefs state decision makers on  

 pesticides and children's health



There is a growing body of scientific evidence pointing to pesticides as a significant contributor to the decline of children's health in the United States. From cancer to learning disabilities and asthma, a wide range of childhood diseases and disorders are on the rise. To increase decision maker awareness of this disturbing trend, CPR and allies hosted a day of action at the California State Capitol on March 13th. 


We kicked the morning off with a press conference on the Capitol steps that called on the state to better protect children and farming communities from pesticide exposure. Allies from the San Joaquin Valley delivered a petition, signed by 12,000+ Californians, to the Department of Pesticide Regulation, demanding that the agency do more to regulate chlorpyrifos, an insecticide that is so hazardous to nervous systems and developing brains that federal officials banned it for home use in 2001. It is still widely used in agriculture.


About 30 representatives from legislative offices and state agencies joined us in the Governor's Council Room for a briefing on the science behind policy recommendations for better protecting our children's health. Irva Hertz-Picciotto, PhD (Professor, UC Davis MIND Institute and Chief, Environmental and Occupational Health), Robert Gould, MD (President, National Physicians for Social Responsibility), Kristin Schafer (Policy Director, Pesticide Action Network), Irma Medellin (Executive Director, El Quinto Sol de Am�rica) and Senator Bill Monning each gave compelling presentations. 


New additions to the CPR Family

CPR is thrilled to announce the addition of three new staff members to the pesticide reform movement in California.


Valerie Gorospe has shifted to a new position as Community Organizer on pesticides at the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment.  Prior to joining CRPE, Valerie was a Medical Assistant and Medical Assisting Instructor for 13 years. She lives in Delano, is the mom of three fantastic children, and the proud granddaughter of the late Pantaleon Ancheta. She was raised in Earlimart, California. Growing up across the street from grape fields, Valerie saw firsthand (but didn't realize as a child) environmental injustices. She has seen the negative health effects that pesticides have had on the health of her own family and is now working to ensure a better future for rural agricultural communities. Valerie coordinates CPR campaigns in Kern County.


Stephanie Tidwell joined CPR as our Grants and Communications Manager in March. Stephanie has more than a decade's experience as a non-profit leader and fundraiser, most recently as the Foundations Director for Corporate Accountability International. Prior to that, she spent nine years as the Executive Director of the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center in northern California and southern Oregon. Stephanie has a B.A. in Anthropology from Appalachian State University, an M.A. in Communications from the University of Colorado School of Journalism, and a graduate certificate in Environmental Policy, also from the University of Colorado. Stephanie is based out of the CPR office in Oakland.


Mark Weller joined CPR as our Monterey Organizer in March. He previously worked for 14 years as Projects Director for Monterey Bay-based UNITE HERE Local 483, organizing community and political support for hospitality workers. Mark has a B.A. in Political Science from University of California San Diego, an M.A. in Sociology from San Jose State University, and is 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.

CPR Annual Meeting a huge success 

CPR extends a HUGE thank you to all of the member groups and allies who made our Annual Conference, held April 5th in Visalia, such a success. Co-host El Quinto Sol de Amrica did a fabulous job helping us make it an informative, fun and inspiring event.