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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'chloropicrin' Category


16
Jan

California Tightens Pesticide Limits on Strawberries and Other Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, January 16, 2015) The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) announced Wednesday that it is implementing the country’s strictest limits on chloropicrin, a chemical injected into the soil where strawberries, raspberries, almonds, and other crops are grown. The soil fumigant has been linked to a litany of health effects, such as respiratory ailments, skin irritation, and headaches, due to exposure to drift in surrounding areas over recent years. The new rules set up wider buffer zones of up to 100 feet around fields where the pesticide is applied. Growers will be restricted to fumigating 40 acres a day unless they use stronger tarps to prevent pesticide drift. Growers are also required to give the state 48 hours notice before fumigating and notify surrounding homes and businesses in Spanish and English. Chloropicrin is used to control soil pathogens, nematodes, and certain weeds, and can be used alone or in combination with another fumigant, either 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D) or methyl bromide, both of which have also been shown to be toxic to human health and potent environmental contaminants. The new chloropicrin restrictions are timely; a 2011 report found that pesticide use rose in 2010 after a four-year decline. The pesticides with […]

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07
May

Report Finds Numerous Schools Near Toxic Pesticide Fields

(Beyond Pesticides, May 7, 2014) A new report from the California Department of Public Health finds 36 percent of public schools in the state have pesticides of public health concern applied within a quarter mile of the school. Persistent and toxic pesticides like chlorpyrifos, methyl bromide, and malathion are among the pesticides found to be applied near schools. The report also finds that Latino children are also more likely to attend schools near areas with the highest use of pesticides of concern. The report, “Agricultural Pesticide Use near Public Schools In California,” released this month, looked at 2,511 schools in the 15 California counties with the highest overall use of farm pesticides in California for 2010, and finds that counties in the southern part of the Central Valley had the most schools near farms where pesticides were applied. Fresno County had the highest number of schools —131 — with pesticides applied nearby. Five percent of schools are within a quarter mile of where the highest volumes of pesticides are used: 2,635—28,979 pounds of active ingredient. Latino children are 46 percent more likely than white children to attend schools where pesticides of concern were applied nearby. The report’s findings are being […]

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09
Oct

California Passes Bill to Tackle Pesticide Drift

(Beyond Pesticides, October 9, 2013) California Governor Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill 304, a bill designed to protect people from harmful pesticides identified as Toxic Air Contaminants (TACs). The bill will require the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) to develop mitigation measures for the use of harmful pesticides that vaporize and drift from application sites. California, a major user of pesticidefumigants, has tried to tackle to prevalence of pesticide drift in the state, and is one of few states that monitor air-borne pesticides. AB 304: “Pesticides: toxic air contaminant: control measures” introduced by Assembly member Das G. Williams (D-Santa Barbara), gives the DPR two years to reduce the effects of harmful air toxins once the department determines that additional mitigation measures are necessary. Fumigants are some of the most dangerous pesticides on the market and include the controversial methyl iodide. They are applied in large quantities, vaporize easily, drift away and expose nearby farmworkers and other community members to harm, with health effects linked to headaches, vomiting, severe lung irritation, and neurological effects. Some fumigants are linked to cancer, reduced fertility, birth defects and higher rates of miscarriage. “Californians have a right to breathe clean air, and not worry […]

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07
Aug

State Finds Toxic Insecticide in Air Samples

(Beyond Pesticides, August 7, 2013) California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has detected the highly toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos in nearly 30% of air tests that are being conducted in three high risk communities surrounded by intensive agriculture. This result is part of DPR’s  2012 results from its  air-monitoring network (AMN)  sampling near the towns of  Ripon, Salinas and Shafter, in Kern County.  The state has been running tests for air particles from methyl bromide and 32 other pesticides and breakdown products and measuring the results against screening levels established by DPR. No state or federal agency has set health standards for pesticides in air. While the state believes the levels found present an acceptable risk, critics maintain that the state’s sampling is not representative of peak agricultural exposures and question whether any level of a toxicant in air is reasonable under the law, given the viability of alternative agricultural practices that do not rely on these chemicals. DPR said no residues were detected in 94.5 percent of the samples it collected, and the levels in the rest were well below thresholds for protecting people from pesticide-related illnesses. The communities in the study were selected from a list of 226 communities […]

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17
May

California Regulators Propose Restrictions of Soil Fumigant

(Beyond Pesticides, May 17, 2013) California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) have proposed restrictions on the use of chloropicrin, a fumigant commonly applied to strawberries, peppers, tomatoes, raspberries, and blackberries. The proposed rule would not only increase buffer zones around application sites, but also restrict application acreage, impose notification requirements, enhance emergency preparedness requirements, and prolong the time that chloropicrin-applied fields must remain covered. Public comments will be accepted until July 31. The move is in response to recent data released by the California DPR, which indicates pesticide use in California has risen, causing 1,015 cases of illness between 1992 and 2007 for chloropicrin exposure alone. In total, more than 173 million pounds of pesticides were reported applied statewide, an increase of nearly 15 million pounds —or 9.5 percent— from 2009. For chloropicrin, injuries ranged from eye or respiratory problems to skin irritation, rashes, and burns. Additional evidence from a 2010 report released by the Pesticide Action Network of North American and local community members of Sisquoc, California, reveals that chloropicrin contaminated half of the 57 air samples collected, with average levels of exposure over the 19-day period at 23 to 151 times higher than acceptable cancer risks. Fumigant pesticides, […]

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28
Jun

New Report Documents Dangers of Drifting Fumigant Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, June 28, 2010) A new report documents high levels of pesticide drift in the California community of Sisquoc. Poison Gases in the Field: Pesticides put California families in danger, released by Pesticide Action Network North America and local community members, presents results of community air monitoring for fumigant pesticides in the central coast area of California, in Santa Barbara County. Using a simple monitoring device called the Drift Catcher, community members measured levels of a fumigant pesticide above the California Department of Pesticide Regulation’s (DPR) “level of concern” — even when all application rules were followed and no equipment failure occurred. “While we were monitoring the air, there were no violations of the County’s permit – and yet we found we were still breathing chloropicrin at high levels,” says Deby DeWeese, one of the community members who collected air samples. “Clearly the rules and regulations do not protect our families.” The Sisquoc monitoring, conducted during and after a soil fumigation in April 2008, found the pesticide chloropicrin in about half of the 57 air samples collected. Two samples had chloropicrin levels higher than DPR’s 24-hour level of concern for children, and the 19-day average level at one sampling […]

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13
Jul

California Governor Could Force Methyl Iodide Registration

(Beyond Pesticides, July 13, 2009) With the stroke of a pen, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger could bow to industry interests and force the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to register a new fumigant pesticide, methyl iodide. Highly toxic, and not approved for use in California, this chemical has been given a comprehensive review by the state’s own Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) and found to be one of the riskiest pesticides in existence. Scientists familiar with methyl iodide are asking Mr. Schwarzenegger to let science, rather than political pressure, guide this decision. “Methyl iodide is so toxic that scientists working with it in the laboratory take extreme precautions when handling it, using a ventilation hood, gloves, and special equipment for transferring it so it does not escape to the air,” notes Susan Kegley, Ph.D., a chemist and consulting scientist for Pesticide Action Network North America. “This degree of protection is not possible in an agricultural setting where the pesticide would be applied at rates of 175 pounds per acre in the open air. Buffer zones of 400 feet (a distance most growers would say is unworkable) for a 40-acre fumigation would still result in a dose of methyl iodide to neighbors […]

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19
Jun

Farmworker Groups Ask EPA Administrator to Uphold Environmental Justice for Farmworker Communities

(Beyond Pesticides, June 19, 2009) Farmworker unions, support groups, and worker advocacy organizations today asked Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson to stop the pesticide poisoning of farmworker communities and uphold the Obama administration’s commitment to environmental justice. Citing a long EPA history of “inhumane neglect of toxic pesticide effects on farmworker community health,” the groups asked the Administrator to amend a recent May 2009 decision that allows the continued use of hazardous soil fumigant pesticides. The chemicals when used in chemically treated crop production, such as tomatoes, carrots, strawberries and nuts, escape into the environment and drift into communities where the families and children of farmworkers live and play. The letter, signed by 28 groups from across the country, says that the new fumigants policy “continues an outdated EPA approach to pesticide regulation that adopts unrealistic and unenforceable standards as risk mitigation measures, in an age of safer, greener approaches to agricultural pest management.” EPA announced its decision May 27, 2009 to allow continued use of toxic soil fumigants with modified safety measures, falling far short of safety advocate efforts to adopt more stringent use restrictions and chemical bans. The rule was first proposed in July 2008, […]

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29
May

Workers and Communities Still Unprotected by EPA Fumigant Rule, Advocates Say

(Beyond Pesticides, May 29, 2008) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced May 27, 2009 modified safety measures for soil fumigant pesticides, falling short of safety advocate efforts to adopt more stringent use restrictions and chemical bans. The new regulations follow a July 10, 2008 proposed rule, which resulted from three years of deliberation. Safety advocates said last July that while substantially better than the past, the proposed regulation fell short in protecting people, workers and the environment and from that perspective this weeks regulation is a disappointment. Advocates believe that the country can do better to phase out uses of highly hazardous chemicals that have devastating impact on exposed workers and communities in which they are used, and advance green technologies and organic practices. Fumigants, which are among the most toxic chemicals used in agriculture, are gases or liquids that are injected or dripped into the soil to sterilize a field before planting. Even with plastic tarps on the soil, fumigants escape from the soil and drift through the air into schools, homes, parks and playgrounds. Strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, carrots and potatoes are some of the major crops for which fumigant use is high. The agency says these measures will […]

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15
Jul

EPA Fumigant Rules Leave Communities and Workers At Risk

(Beyond Pesticides, July 15, 2008) After three years of deliberation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new rules for five highly toxic fumigant pesticides on July 10, 2008. Environmental health, community and farmworker groups say the rules, while substantially better than the past, still fall short of protecting people, workers and the environment. The rules will be published in the Federal Register on July 17, 2008.The fumigant review, mandated by the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act, was conducted as a combined evaluation of five commonly used fumigants, called the “Fumigant Cluster Assessment.” The five fumigants included in the assessment are methyl bromide, metam sodium, metam potassium, dazomet, and chloropicrin. Methyl bromide was slated for phaseout by January 2005 under the Montreal Protocol because it is a potent ozone depletor, but the Bush Administration has sought annual “critical use exemptions,” keeping it on the market. Fumigants, which are among the most toxic chemicals used in agriculture, are gases or liquids that are injected or dripped into the soil to sterilize a field before planting. Even with plastic tarps on the soil, fumigants escape from the soil and drift through the air into schools, homes, parks and playgrounds. Strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, […]

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09
Oct

Chloropicrin Fumes Send Nevada Farmworkers to Hospital

(Beyond Pesticides, October 9, 2007) Two state agencies and the U.S. EPA are close to completing an investigation of the poisoning of over 100 farmworkers in Nevada two weeks ago. Chloropicrin, an agricultural fumigant, drifted to a worker-occupied field, sending 121 laborers to Saint Lyon Medical Center (SLMC) for treatment on the morning of September 26. Upon arrival, the workers were showing symptoms including difficulty breathing, nausea, watery eyes and sore throat. SLMC Administrator Joan Hall said that only 12 of the 121 people required emergency room care, and most returned to work the same afternoon. Normally, chloropicrin’s off-gas dissipates, but because of a weather inversion the fumigant stayed lower to the ground and drifted more than a half-mile away from its application area to the worker-occupied field. Speaking on behalf of local farming operation Peri & Sons Farms, media contact Tim Cummings said both the Nevada Department of Agriculture and Occupational Safety and Health Administration have concluded their portion of the report, with the remaining piece due from the EPA. Peri & Sons owns both fields, which are located just over a half-mile apart, far enough apart from each other for such applications, according to state regulations and the […]

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