JUNE 2019


 Pesticide use near record high in California, state data show

Agricultural chemical spill in Merced County kills one, sends 9 to hospital

Introducing CPR's new co-director

Pesticide Use Remains Near Record High in California, State Data Show
DPR 2017 data reveal chlorpyrifos use increased in the year it was slated for a federal ban

Pesticide use in California topped two hundred million pounds for the third year in a row in 2017, according to data just released by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. Included in this total are increases in use of the brain-damaging organophosphate insecticide chlorpyrifos, the soil fumigant chloropicrin, and the cancer-causing fungicides chlorothalonil and mancozeb. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's blockbuster herbicide Roundup, continues to be among the most widely used pesticides in California.

"These numbers are no cause for celebration," said Jane Sellen, co-director of the statewide coalition Californians for Pesticide Reform. "Overall pesticide use in California is close to a record high, including some of the worst and most harmful chemicals permitted in our state."

Use of the neurotoxic insecticide chlorpyrifos was up 5% in 2017 over the prior year, despite assurances by state and county officials that its use was on the wane. This increase is especially troubling as it comes in the very year chlorpyrifos was slated for a federal ban, reversed at the last minute by Trump's EPA.
Chlorpyrifos is now acknowledged to cause IQ loss and other neurodevelopmental harm in young children, even at very low exposure levels. It is so harmful the state recently took the unprecedented step of beginning cancellation proceedings, the first time a pesticide has ever been cancelled in California. However, the process will take up to two years, during which time more children will be exposed and will suffer lifelong, irreversible brain harm.
"Chlorpyrifos use actually went up the year it was supposed to be banned. That's just plain wrong," said Byanka Santoyo with the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment in Kern, where more chlorpyrifos is used than any other county.
"It's a huge relief that Governor Newsom has finally pulled the plug on this horrible chemical, and we can only hope the cancellation process happens as quickly as possible."
Among the top ten most heavily used pesticides in 2017 are the hazardous, drift-prone soil fumigants 1,3-dichloropropene (#3, known as Telone) and chloropicrin (#5). Use of both chemicals has rapidly increased in the years since the international phase-out of the fumigant methyl bromide took effect in 2005. Telone is a known carcinogen, while chloropicrin is a suspected carcinogen. In 2015 DPR ordered the manufacturers of chloropicrin to do a followup cancer study but due to repeated delays, that study won't be completed until the end of 2021.

Also in the top ten are two glyphosate salts (ranked #7 and #9). Taken together, glyphosate in all forms vaulted to the number 4 position in 2017. It was recently the subject of three large legal awards ranging from $78 million to $2 billion for its links to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
In response to public outcry, a number of schools, cities and counties have moved to ban or restrict use of glyphosate on public land. Most recently, the county of Sonoma voted last week to restrict glyphosate and other synthetic pesticide use on county roads and parks.
In April the city of Watsonville went a step further, banning use of glyphosate on city land entirely - no exceptions. Despite these moves by a growing number of municipalities, cities and counties cannot restrict pesticide use on private or agricultural land because of state preemption, and DPR's data confirm that use of the Prop. 65 carcinogen is as widespread as ever.
"For years, Monsanto has presented Roundup as harmless, yet now we're finding out they hid data that showed links to cancer years ago. Besides resistant superweeds, there's evidence of harm to bees and butterflies," said Watsonville resident and retired nurse Kathleen Kilpatrick. "I'm happy Watsonville and other cities are eliminating use on public property, but that's a drop in the bucket compared with use on lawns, landscaping, and crops. We need to look at the big picture to protect human health and the environment."

Agricultural chemical spill in Merced County kills 1, send 9 to hospital
Incident in the Los Banos area is under investigation

A hazardous materials spill outside of Los Banos in Merced County  resulted in one death and sent nine other people to local hospitals for possible exposure on Thursday afternoon - including multiple emergency responders.

According to Merced County Sheriff's Deputy Daryl Allen, the spill was "some sort of chemical spray" connected to farming. 

One Los Banos man died and a second victim, reported to be a family member of the deceased, was transported to Valley Children's Hospital where he remains in stable condition. 

Also taken to local hospitals for possible exposure were six sheriff deputies and two ambulance workers. The deputies and ambulance workers were all checked out and released, according to Allen.

ABC Action News 30 identified the deceased man as local farmer John Menezes. The chemical has not yet been identified, but a spokesperson from the Fresno County Farm Bureau suggested that a pesticide was to blame, noting that "When it comes to [pesticide] applicate, they have to be trained. We're going to find out what happened and hopefully learn one of these lessons here."

Welcome new CPR Co-Director 
Jane Sellen
Former Co-Director Mark Weller returns to his union organizing roots

Former Director of Development and Communications Jane Sellen has joined Sarah Aird as CPR's new Co-director, effective June 1. Former Co-Director Mark Weller has taken a position as  political-community organizer with  SEIU  Local 521 Region 2 (Monterey-San Benito-Santa Cruz).

Jane joined CPR in 2015 after seven years as a grant writer for Sierra Streams Institute, an environmental science institute in the Sierra Foothills. She has a BA in English and Law from Cambridge University in her native England. Jane has worked closely with co-director Sarah Aird in CPR's Berkeley office for almost four years.

Hired in 2014 as our Monterey Bay organizer, Mark became co-director in 2016. 
We owe Mark a huge debt of gratitude for his extraordinary work building the SASS coalition in the Monterey Bay area and providing mentorship and support for all of our organizers throughout the state. Under Mark's watch, we've expanded the range of our organizing efforts from three counties to seven, with Sonoma soon to join. He also brought his considerable talents in media and strategy to the coalition, and was particularly effective at tracking scientific research and incorporating it into our outreach. Mark will be greatly missed, and we wish him all the very best in his new position.