California Institutes Strict Rules Regarding the Use of Pesticides


Since 2005, over 50 people in California have been harmed by pesticides that were blown by the wind onto school compounds. In light of the same, some counties within the state have some strict rules regarding the use of specific pesticides in close proximity to schools and daycare centers. On Tuesday, the state of California took a bold step by prohibiting the use of certain pesticides near schools in the whole state.

According to the state Department of Pesticide Regulation, beginning on January 1, 2018, California based farmers have to content with spraying or dusting their crops before 6:00 AM or after 6:00 PM and during the weekends. The state warns that those who will be found violating the rules will have to part with hefty fines up to $5000. Also, farmers have to report to schools and county agriculture offices about the kind of pesticides they intent on using around schools; in turn, schools will choose whether to inform parents/ guardians of the same or not. Brian Leahy, the department’s director, emphasized that the rules are not meant to hurt farmers but rather enable schools and farms to co-exist peacefully.

While the over 4,100 schools and daycare centers in California are delighted by the new laws, some 2,500 farms are saddened by the news. Farmers affirm it is schools that were built near the farms and not vice versa. Bruce Blodgett, executive director of the San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation, agrees that the safety of children is a priority, but he held on to the idea that schools encroached on farms and therefore there should be better laws regarding where schools are located. He adds that farmers, most of them being parents, are mindful of neighboring schools and would never intentionally use harmful agrochemicals.

The state Department of Pesticide Regulation quotes the 2015’s Coachella Valley High School incident in support of its case. Over 24 students and members of the teaching fraternity fell ill following the deposition of pesticides in the school’s compound. According to Charlotte Fedipe, a spokeswoman for the department, a grower was spraying pesticide on a nearby farm and wind altered the direction of the pesticide depositing some of it within the school.

Meanwhile, the world is increasingly getting concerned with some agrochemicals. Monsanto Company, a manufacturer of agrochemicals, is currently on the receiving end following concerns that its glyphosate herbicide is carcinogenic and therefore should not be reintroduced in Europe.