California officials are close to finalizing new policies that could result in some of the strongest rules on pesticide use near schools. But will they fall short? Until April 4, California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is accepting public comment on a proposal to limit the use of the most hazardous pesticides near schools — but thanks to loopholes, this proposal doesn't offer nearly enough protection for schoolkids.
First steps are meaningful, depending on context. When my now 15-month-old took her first steps earlier this year, we celebrated her progress. It was a major milestone in her early life. But Hawai’i regulators don’t deserve the same kudos for their recent announcement intended to quell concerns about pesticide use on the islands.
Ignoring the science, California regulators just approved even more use of Dow's fumigant pesticide, Telone.
Air blaster. Aerial spraying. Fumigation. Unless things change, another school year will go by with pesticides being applied by these methods right outside classroom windows.
Earlier this month, dozens of pesticide and industrial agriculture lobbyists filled the halls of California’s Capitol as they worked to defeat the Pollinator Protection Act (SB 1282) on the Senate floor. If passed, this bill that would have created new protections for bees from harmful pesticides, along with ensuring that seeds and plants pre-treated with neonicotinoid pesticides be labeled as such. But unfortunately, pesticide industry interests prevailed — a deeply disappointing turn of event for those of us working to protect bees.
Outside Bayer’s North Carolina headquarters this week, a beekeeper stood with 2.5 million dead bees — a symbol for the number of kills U.S. beekeepers face across the country annually — thanks in part to the bee-harming pesticides that Bayer and others manufacture.
The phrase “justice delayed is justice denied” has real meaning for children living near California farm fields. Since the first lawsuit was filed seventeen years ago, Latino schoolkids are still being disproportionately impacted by agricultural pesticides — many linked to cancer and neurodevelopmental harms. And now parents are taking on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remedy violations of the Civil Rights Act.
What’s being applied on the strawberry field next door? For many Californians, the answer is a big question mark. And the issue has taken on added significance as state officials consider how best to answer that question — and then inform parents about the health-harming pesticides being applied near homes and schools.
Maybe it’s time for a beekeeper for president. They can manage complex hives, provide critical support for farms and ecosystems, and ensure we get to eat an amazing array of fruits, nuts and vegetables. And they are some of the first to recognize that bee declines are a symptom of larger problems in our broken agricultural system.
There’s a lot of power in the San Joaquin Valley. It's a hub for industrial agriculture interests, no doubt, as they've grown in size and scale. But there’s also power in the communities that are organizing to reclaim and protect shared water, soil and farmland.