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Pesticide Action Network

California Updates: July 2020

As California is one of the states in which PAN does on-the-ground campaign work, we send out regular updates on PAN and partners’ work in California and beyond — from pesticide-related science to opportunities to take action. If you’d like to receive these updates via email, sign up here.

State updates

Farmer equity report: California Farmer Justice Collaborative (CFJC) members worked together to pass the Farmer Equity Act in 2017, the first law in California to acknowledge the history of racism in agriculture in the state. Part of the implementation of this historic law was for the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to publish a Farmer Equity Report, assessing racial equity in farming in the state and including a set of recommendations for increasing the Department’s commitment to racial equity moving forward.

The report was published in June. Our partners at CFJC have recently shared in a public statement that disappointingly, the report failed to capture the history of structural racism embedded in our food and farming system and lay out clear steps to authentically address that inequity. See CFJC’s full analysis of the report as well as recommendations for how the state can truly reverse the impacts of institutionalized racism in California food and agriculture here.

Protecting public participation: Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, PAN and other organizations have been working together to ensure that public participation in state policy processes can continue unhampered. The pandemic has made in-person comments at legislative committee hearings impossible, but to ensure that people across the state are still able to provide comments and testimony, we sent a letter to the state government highlighting requests such as: multiple options (web-based as well as phone-based) for the public to provide comments; translation services for non-English speakers; and ample time for public participation in each and every hearing.

When the state Assembly proposed eliminating the option to make public comments by phone due to technical glitches and perceived inefficiency, the pushback from advocates helped overturn this proposal, and the Assembly kept the phone option for public participation.

Nationwide updates

Rejecting new GE corn seed: Earlier this month, PAN and our partners at the National Family Farm Coalition and Friends of the Earth delivered a combined 33,296 signatures in opposition to the Monsanto Company’s petition for deregulation of a new variety of corn seed engineered to withstand application of five different herbicides.

Weed scientists are sounding the alarm that the current model for weed control will not be viable for much longer — it’s time to step off of the pesticide treadmill and move to farming systems that use diversified weed and pest control systems. Contrary to Monsanto’s claims, the new GE corn is not about giving farmers more choices, it is about capturing market shares and supporting large conglomerate farming operations rather than the skilled individuals and families who farm. Read more from Iowa farmer and PAN Communications Associate Rob Faux here.

Latest science

Reducing Telone: CA DPR has proposed a pilot mitigation (reduction) program for Telone, the fumigant also known as 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D). Telone is one of the top fumigants used in the state. Fumigants are notorious for being very drift prone, due to their high volatility.

DPR is aiming to reduce emissions (via vapor drifting off the field) of Telone by 60% in this pilot program, and will be evaluating the data they collect in the pilot to determine if this aim is feasible for implementation in the entire state.

Air pollution and mortality: A study published this month in the journal Science Advances used Medicare data from 2000-2016 to study enrollees 65 years and older along with exposure to air pollution (PM 2.5). The researchers found that raising the air quality standards by lowering the allowable air pollution to 10 μg/m3 leads to a 6-7% decrease in mortality risk, which would save 143,257 lives in one decade. These findings that air quality standards can save lives support previous findings from EPA on the benefits of the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act standards. The Trump administration’s rollbacks of emissions regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic have elicited strong criticisms from doctors, citing the threat to public health, and could have long-term effects that outlast the pandemic.

Upcoming events

Climate change webinar series
Join the Medical Society Consortium on Climate Change for their summer webinar series on climate change.

  • Air Quality, Climate Change, & Transportation – Recorded
  • COVID-19, Climate Change, and Equity – July 17, 12 pm ET
  • Preventing Heat Illness in Practice – July 24, 12 pm ET
  • Climate Change & Pregnancy, Climate Change & Mental Health – July 21, 12 pm ET
  • Learn more, view recordings, and register here.

Environmental Justice Virtual Summer Workshop Series
The Florida Brownfields Association has launched a four-part education online workshop series on environmental justice.

  • EJ Through a 2020 Lens (What COVID 19 Has Taught Us) – Recorded
  • Federal Funding and Community Resources – July 16, 10 am ET
  • Driving Equity, Now! – August 6, 10 am ET
  • Universities as EJ Allies: Building Partnerships for Positive Change – August 20, 10 am ET
  • Learn more, view recordings, and register here.

Take action

Our communities have the right to know about nearby applications of hazardous agricultural pesticides before they happen — for the sake of children, workers, and families.

Tell the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to ensure the public’s right to this information in real time.

Take Action


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Pesticide Action Network

Pesticide Action Network is dedicated to advancing alternatives to pesticides worldwide. Follow @pesticideaction

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