Talk of the Bay from KSQD
Talk of the Bay from KSQD
Farmworkers Urge California to Tighten, Not Loosen Pesticide Regs

I interviewed Jane Sellen of Californians for Pesticide Reform about the potential loosening of restrictions of the chemical 1,3-D, a known carcinogen used on strawberries and other crops.

Farmworker communities call on the State to Rewrite Regulation of Cancer-Causing Pesticide that exceeds State risk levels

The Department of Pesticide Regulation’s proposal would allow for 14 times more 1,3-dichloropropene in the air than the official State safe harbor level

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazards Assessment (OEHHA) last June issued a Prop 65 safe harbor level – the maximum exposure amount determined to be safe – for 1,3-D that converts to a daily air concentration of 0.04 parts per billion. The 1,3-D air concentration at the six active state pesticide air-monitors, including one at Ohlone Elementary School in northern Monterey County, has exceeded OEHHA’s safe harbor level for cancer every year since testing started in 2012, averaging 2.5 to 29 times higher than the safe level.

Among the Department of Pesticide Regulation’s proposals to be heard at the January 18 hearing are the adoption of a cancer risk level that is 14 times more lenient than the level recommended by OEHHA scientists, the elimination of limits on use (previously capped at 136,000 pounds per 6×6 mile “township”), and the assumption that new experimental emissions reduction measures, including increased soil water saturation and deeper injections, will be strictly followed and will greatly reduce air emissions.

Residents of farmworking communities fear the State proposal will not protect them from cancer-causing 1,3-D.

“While much of the world is banning 1,3-D, California is allowing for even more to be used, by eliminating the use caps,” said Yanely Martinez, Greenfield City Councilmember in Monterey County. “And now DPR has given us a number for how little they value farmworker communities: According to them, we’re worth 14 times less than other California residents, because that’s how much more cancer DPR is willing to allow by exposure to 1,3-D than our state toxicologists at OEHHA say is safe. This is a racist policy.”