Calif. Issues New Rules To Protect Against Health Effects of Pesticide
On Wednesday, California Department of Pesticide Regulation officials announced a new set of rules to protect farmworkers and those living near agricultural fields from pesticides that could be harmful to their health, the AP/Rochester Post-Bulletin reports.
Background on Health Issues
The restrictions apply to chloropicrin, a pesticide widely used on strawberries, tomatoes and other crops.
The pesticide is known to cause irritated eyes, coughing fits and headaches among those exposed to it (AP/Rochester Post-Bulletin, 1/14). According to the Los Angeles Times, the pesticide has leaked into the air in recent years.
State records show that 787 Californians between 2002 and 2011 experienced negative health effects after being exposed to chloropicrin gas. Advocates say the number of cases could be higher, as many illnesses are not reported (Barboza, Los Angeles Times, 1/14).
Details of New Rules
The new rules released by CDPR are the strictest in the country, going beyond the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's standards, according to the AP/Post-Bulletin.
Specifically, the rules require farms to:
- Limit application of the pesticide to 40 acres in one day, marking a 75% reduction (AP/Rochester Post-Bulletin, 1/14);
- Expand buffer zones by 100 feet around fields on which the pesticide has been used;
- Give the state 48 hours' notice before fumigating fields; and
- Notify surrounding homes and business of their fumigation plans in both English and Spanish (Los Angeles Times, 1/14).
However, farms that encase their fields in specialized tarps while applying the pesticide can follow less strict rules (AP/Rochester Post-Bulletin, 1/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.