The latest out of California: Legislative session suspended; PAN and coronavirus; Protect food workers
As California is one of the states in which PAN does on-the-ground campaign work, we send out regular updates on PAN’s 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.
At the Capitol: For the first time in 158 years, to prevent spread of the novel coronavirus, the current California legislative session has been suspended. We at PAN are supportive of this decision as an important step toward protecting public health, and are hopeful that when the session resumes, a pesticide application notification bill we have been working on over the past weeks will move forward.
PAN is co-sponsoring this bill (SB 1398, authored by Senator Hannah Beth Jackson) along with our partners Californians for Pesticide Reform. If the bill goes forward in its current shape it will focus on improved notification of pesticide applications near California public schools. Following on the school buffer zones regulation that was enacted last year, this bill would require the Department of Pesticide Regulation to provide an annual update of pesticide applications within the school buffer zones along with any violations of the zones. It will also require improved notification of specific pesticide application by growers.
What PAN is doing: Last week, a “shelter in place” order went into effect across California, directing people to stay home except to get groceries or medical care. This dramatic social distancing measure is an effort to catch up with the fast-spreading coronavirus that’s now upending so many lives.
We’re able to do this at PAN, and we realize just how lucky we are. While many of our usual gatherings and events have been postponed or cancelled, we can shift to operating remotely while also staying connected to our work and to each other. But we’re acutely aware that many of the people we partner with most closely — farmworkers, small farmers and rural families — don’t have this option. As we adjust to new realities each day, this crisis is shining a bright, hot light on how fragile and inequitable so many systems in this country are — the food system being just one example of many. Read more here.
Coronavirus stability in aerosol and on surfaces: The coronavirus outbreak has researchers scrambling to learn more about COVID-19. A new NIH study found that the novel coronavirus was viable in aerosols during the experimental time of three hours. The virus was also found to be more stable on plastic and stainless steel surfaces than on copper and cardboard, and could be detected for up to three days on plastic and stainless steel. On copper and cardboard, the coronavirus survived up to four hours and 24 hours, respectively. Addiitonally, a recent CDC study found some virus RNA on surfaces 17 days after infected passengers vacated a cruise ship. However, the NIH study measured viable virus while the CDC study measured RNA only — it is unclear whether the RNA found on cruise ship surfaces means the virus was still active, the results warrant further testing.
We encourage you to practice social distancing, but webinars and virtual meetings are a great way to stay connected! Check it out:
Recorded webinar: What ag producers need to know about COVID-19
This webinar, hosted by the AgriSafe Network, shares evidence-based information about COVID-19 and helps agricultural producers identify strategies for responding on their farm.
Farmworkers are some of the least protected workers in the country — and some of these workers are children. Pediatricians have understood for decades that children are more vulnerable to health-harming chemicals than adults.
The Children’s Act for Responsible Employment and Farm Safety, or CARE Act, would strengthen protections for children working in agriculture, increasing the minimum age for employment and restricting hazardous tasks and working hours. Urge your Representative to support the CARE Act today.