Children must be better protected during spray season | Pesticide Action Network
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Children must be better protected during spray season

For Immediate Release: July 11, 2014
Contact: Paul Towers, PAN, 916-216-1082,

Children must be better protected during spray season

13,000+ urge EPA to take action on drift-prone pesticides

Washington, DC - Today, Pesticide Action Network (PAN) and the United Farm Workers are submitting more than 13,000 comments to EPA from supporters across the country concerned about the effects of pesticide drift on children’s health. The petition urges the agency to take quick action on drift-prone pesticides to protect children and communities.

Former PAN scientist Dr. Susan Kegley, PhD, who invented the Drift Catcher, brought the issue of volatilization drift to EPA's attention back in 2008. In 2009, the agency began to consider volatilization drift for certain pesticides — which was a start. Now, after legal action and ongoing public pressure, EPA has developed methods for evaluating the health impacts of volatilization drift more broadly.

PAN also submitted more detailed comments on behalf of several food, farming and farmworker organizations.

PAN staff scientist Emily Marquez, PhD, highlights the reality and dangers of pesticide drift:

“Where pesticide applications occur, there will be hazardous pesticide drift. On-the-ground data from across the country leaves no question that drift happens — and that workers, children and families in rural and fenceline communities are being harmed.

PAN has worked for years to document both spray drift and volatilization drift with community partners across the country. In 2013, parents Bonnie and Andrew Wirtz of Melrose, Minnesota used the Drift Catcher to document volatilization drift at levels approximately four times EPA's ‘safe’ exposure level for a 1-year old child.

Bonnie's biggest concern is that her now 2-year-old son will ‘continue being exposed and have long-term adverse effects from the spray.’ EPA is taking a step in the right direction by taking volatilization drift into account. Agency officials should move quickly to take action on drift-prone pesticides.”