A new state report shows more than a million California students attend schools near farms where pesticides are used, now the data is raising questions about the safety of students around those schools.
The group Pesticide Action Network released a statement saying “The numbers are compelling and deserve attention. Even in small amounts, pesticides can have profound impacts on children’s health and intelligence. They point to a larger need to dramatically reduce the use of hazardous pesticides and create better protections for the state’s schoolchildren."
Ventura, Monteray, and Santa Barbara County Students are on a top 10 list of schools with the most pesticides applied nearby.
The report does not measure if students have been exposed to or harmed from pesticide use. Santa Maria Joint Unified School District says parents shouldn’t be alarmed.
Reese Thompson, Director of Facilities at SMJUSD, said) “If the county Agricultural commissioner had a problem they would contact us to alert us.”
The local agricultural commissioner said the study does not prove a problem.
Cathleen Fisher, the Santa Barbara County Agricultural Commissioner, said “It’s not showing how they’re applied up to quarter mile away to those schools.”
Fisher wrote a letter to the California Department of Public Health about the CHPH’s report Agricultural Pesticide Use Near Public Schools of California, stating that the Agricultural Commissioners in charge of local enforcement of pesticide laws were not consulted during the development of the report.
Fisher said “If they used more up to date data, that would have recent laws and regulations included, it would’ve changed the numbers drastically.”