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Pesticide Action Network

California Updates: September 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

What’s up at the capitol? Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CA legislative session resulted in a shorter and more rushed session, which ended this week. Nevertheless, PAN remains actively engaged in the CA Food and Farming Network (CFFN) state-wide collaborative process and supported a few bills that have both passed on to the governor’s desk for final approval.

  • A bill by Assemblymember Rivas would require dissemination of COVID-19 safety practices from CalOSHA to farmworkers. Unfortunately, the bill was stripped of language proposed by PAN to engage farmworkers in implementation of best practices.
  • A bill by Assemblymember Reyes would require COVID reporting. We’ve learned how important reporting is with California’s relatively strong pesticide use and pesticide-related illness reporting systems — only a few other states have similar reporting systems, and they are far less robust. These pesticide reporting laws have directly supported the passage of numerous rules and regulations designed to better protect workers, students and communities from the hazards of pesticide exposure.

Farmworker COVID-19 study: Several CFFN partners conducted more than 900 farmworker interviews and produced an excellent report with recommendations for how to best serve California’s approximately 700,000 farmworkers and their families in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sign the petition urging California to protect our always essential farmworkers.

Economic recovery: A recent $1 billion economic stimulus proposal did not move forward before the legislative session ended this week. But with an eye toward the 2021 legislative session, we will continue to work with the statewide CFFN collaborative and other community-based initiatives.

Nationwide updates

Sweeping pesticide law reform: On August 4, Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) introduced proposed legislation — the “Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act”, or (PACTPA). This bill would overhaul U.S. pesticide rules, ultimately mandating new rules to protect people and the environment.

Each year the United States uses over one billion pounds of pesticides — nearly a fifth of worldwide usage — and pesticide use levels continue to increase. The current law governing U.S. pesticide regulations, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) contains provisions that prioritize pesticide industry interests above the health and safety of people and our environment. PACTPA addresses many of FIFRA’s shortcomings, and would prohibit the use of old stockpiles of banned pesticides, require listing of inert ingredients on all pesticide products, and provide significant protections for frontline communities that bear the brunt of pesticide exposure. Read more here.

Latest science

Treated seeds are toxic: We know that neonic-treated seeds are toxic for pollinators — and an increasing stack of research shows that they likely provide zero benefit in yield for farmers. A 2020 report from Cornell University found that “90% of field tests showed no increase in corn yields from seeds treated with neonics, compared with chemical alternatives or untreated seed.” Similar results were found for soy. The science is clear — and we’re grateful to see researchers across the country adding their data to the pile. Yet despite study after study, treated seeds are still widely used by farmers. Why? Regulatory action has been continually blocked by corporate lobbyists, and many farmers don’t have access to a reliable supply of untreated seeds.

Upcoming events

Pollinator protection webinar
Join our friends at the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP) for the second installation in the Protecting Migratory Pollinators series, “Beneficial birds as natural pest control.” This hour-long Zoom webinar will focus on migratory bird pollinators/insectivores, their habitat needs, effective conservation and management efforts, and impacts of pesticides on these species and their role as natural pest control agents in home gardens and on farms.

Take action

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill, the Delivering for America Act, to allocate $25 billion to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), while restricting recent operational changes that have hindered USPS services across the country.

Urge your Senator to pass the Delivering for America Act, today. We must save the USPS.

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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