In California, where much of the country’s fruits and vegetables are grown, health-harming pesticides are routinely used on fields near schools. According to data from the state, more than 500,000 children attend schools within a quarter mile of fields where health-harming pesticides are applied.
Kids are also exposed to pesticides through the foods they eat, including school lunches. California’s pesticide residue monitoring found one or more residues on over half of the produce sampled. And studies tell us that — even at very low levels of exposure — pesticides can have long-lasting health impacts for children.
The good news is, this is a problem we can all do something about. Join parents, teachers and healthcare providers across the state in urging policymakers to protect school kids from pesticides in the air and on their plates.
What we’re doing
Pesticide drift is of particular concern for kids living in rural, farming communities. With partners across the state, we are urging California policymakers to:
- Expand buffer zones around schools to one mile. Current laws and their enforcement vary from pesticide to pesticide, and from area to area. In the few counties that already have buffer zones around sensitive cites, like schools, very few go beyond 1/4 mile. This is inadequate.
- Regularly monitor the use of health-harming pesticides in close proximity to schools. The 2014 California Department of Public Health report that documented pesticide use near schools was the first of its kind. This data is readily available and should continue to be monitored — and made publicly available.
- Put these new rules in place by September 2016. The exposure California school kids face is real. It’s important that next school year be one where learning and growing are not inhibited by pesticides.
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Learn more about what we're doing to protect children's health — and how you can get involved — on our Healthy Kids campaign page.