California Proposal Set to Protect Latinx Schoolchildren From Nearby Pesticides

By Yessenia Funes Oct 03, 2016

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) closed out the month of September with a proposal to require growers to notify schools and day cares when they plan to spray certain pesticides throughout the coming year, as well as a few days prior. “In addition, certain pesticide applications near these school sites will be prohibited at certain times,” reads the DPR site.

The action would restrict pesticide use beginning in October 2017 and take effect Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The rule also requires anywhere from 25 feet to a quarter mile minimum distance between the sprayer and schools or day cares.

The DPR’s initial statement of reasons states:

Concerns about the risks associated with pesticide use at or near schools and child day care facilities have persisted through the years due to children’s potentially increased sensitivity and exposure. The dose that may cause adverse effects in children may also be lower than adults. For example, based on current scientific findings some pesticides may cause effects to a child’s developing nervous system. Also, children may have higher exposure than adults due to their higher breathing rate relative to their body weight. While DPR accounts for these factors in its evaluation of potential toxic effects and exposure, there may be disproportionate impacts to children when unintended drift occurs. Moreover, schools and child day care facilities are considered sensitive sites because large numbers of children can be located there for extended periods of time.

California’s Latinx kids are hit the worst: The California Department of Public Health reported in 2014 that these children were 46 percent more likely than White children to attend schools with concerning rates of pesticide use. More specifically, it stated, “[Latinxs] were the only racial/ethnic group whose representation in the student population increased as pounds of pesticides used near schools increased.”

A separate report the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment released earlier this year highlighted the EPA’s failure to protect Latinx communities from dangerous toxins like pesticides. The proposal’s comment period ends November 17 with public hearings scheduled beforehand.

(H/t Grist)