State toughens rules for pesticide use near schools
March 16, 2017
• Impacts about 3,500 public schools and licensed child day care facilities
• “Will provide Californians with probably the most robust protection in the nation”
Tougher regulations on the use of pesticides near schools are expected top be adopted by the state Department of Pesticide Regulation.
The proposal would provide an extra measure of protection to public K-12 school sites and licensed child day care facilities from the risk of short-term pesticide exposure, and help increase communication between growers and school sites/licensed child day care facilities, the department says.
“We believe this regulation will provide Californians with probably the most robust protection in the nation for schoolchildren when agricultural pesticides are applied near their school,” the department says Thursday.
The proposed regulation will affect about 3,500 public K-12 schools and licensed child day care facilities and involve approximately 2,500 growers in California.
While many counties in California currently have varying requirements for notification of certain pesticide applications near schools, the proposed regulation would be the first statewide standard.
The regulations would, among other things:
• Prohibit many pesticide applications within a quarter mile of public K-12 schools and child day care facilities from Monday through Friday between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. These include all applications by aircraft, sprinklers, air-blast sprayers, and all fumigant applications. In addition, most dust and powder pesticide applications, such as sulfur, would be prohibited during this time.
• Require California growers to annually notify public K-12 schools and licensed child day care facilities and the CAC about the pesticides expected to be used within a quarter mile of school sites and licensed child day care facilities.
The key revisions to the proposed regulation include:
• Growers will not be required to notify school sites/licensed child day care facilities and the county agricultural commissioners of pesticide applications made within a quarter mile of these facilities 48 hours before they occur. However, growers will still be required to provide annual notification of the pesticides expected to be applied within a quarter mile of these facilities
• The revision also clarifies the definition of “school site” and other terms. For example, it makes clear that the regulations do not apply to school buses or vehicles not on school property, and that County Agricultural Commissioners may identify an adjacent park used regularly by schools on the weekdays as part of a school site.
The regulation is anticipated to become effective January 1, 2018.
Any interested person can submit written comments on the proposed revisions to the regulation between March 20 and 5:00 p.m. on April 4 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments may also be faxed or mailed to Ms. Linda Irokawa-Otani, Regulations Coordinator, Department of Pesticide Regulation, 1001 I Street, P.O. Box 4015, Sacramento, California 95812-4015. FAX: (916) 324-1491.