Ag groups criticizes proposal to further limit pesticide use near schools

The proximity of schools to commercial farming is being further scrutinized by groups seeking to limit the use of crop protection products on those farms.

WPHA calls proposed DPR rules 'unnecessary'

Current regulations said to provide adequate safeguards to prevent pesticide exposure State monitoring shows no need to further restrict pesticide use DPR has not proven the need to further restrict pesticide use near schools

(Commentary) 

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation just released its new “Pesticides around Schools” regulatory proposal, which will further restrict the availability of crop protection tools to farmers. The Western Plant Health Association rejects the allegation that current regulations are not protective of communities or children in schools.

DPR itself has in multiple public hearings over the past year publicly acknowledged that these regulations are not based on science or validated data demonstrating need, but are policy driven recommendations.

For more than seven years, multiple agencies within Cal-EPA monitored potential pesticide exposure around schools and in disadvantaged communities. No reports of pesticide exposure were made.

This monitoring is taking place at multiple locations around the state and by agencies including DPR and the California Air Resources Board. 

Before any pesticide can be registered, it must undergo over 300 studies to determine safety within the parameters of where it will be used. Pesticides used around sensitive populations are assessed for their safety in these settings before they can be registered.

Last year, the non-partisan and highly respected National Academy of Sciences (NAS) confirmed that the EPA registration process is thorough and scientifically sound.

As part of that assessment, NAS also commented that DPR’s current program provides precautionary protections beyond what has been scientifically demonstrated necessary to assure safety. 

To our knowledge, in the last 16 years there have been no incidences of children in schools being exposed in the legal application of a pesticide around schools. We agree that the goal of the regulatory system and the protections it provides should always strive for zero incidents, and it's clear that California has achieved success about as close as can be achieved and has accomplished that under the current system. 

It is clear that this proposal is nothing more than Cal-EPA pandering to anti-pesticide and anti-farmer interests at the expense and on the backs of California's farmers. California's farmers live on their farms and in these communities and are committed to the safe use of crop protection products.

It is unfortunate the agencies that provide Californians with real protections because of the science those regulations have been based upon, are now allowing themselves to be manipulated to advance activist agendas.

This statement is from Renee Pinel, president and chief executive officer of Western Plant Health Association, on the recent Calif. Department of Pesticide Regulation proposal that would further restrict pesticide use around California schools.

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