The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) today released a revised proposal for regulating the use of agricultural pesticides near school sites and licensed child day care facilities. The department is inviting the public to comment on the revisions during a 15-day period.
The revised draft regulation reflects extensive public input received during the most recent round of public review, which included three formal hearings and ended in December. The original proposal was issued in September 2016, after the department held a series of public workshops in five locations around the state.
The proposed regulation 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. It would also assist these sites in responding to inquiries and potential incidents.
“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,” said Brian Leahy, Director of DPR. “It simply makes it more difficult to create an unacceptable pesticide hazard at a school site.”
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 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 (CACs) 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. See example.
- 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 (CACs) 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.
A summary of the highlights of the revised school regulation is available.
Any interested person can submit written comments on the proposed revisions to the regulation between March 20, 2017 and 5:00 p.m. on April 4, 2017 to email@example.com. 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.
The proposed regulation would:
- Prohibit many pesticide applications within a quarter mile of public K-12 schools and child day care facilities from Monday through Friday between 6am and 6pm. 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.
Each Annual Notification, PDF (846 kb) must list the pesticides expected to be used during the upcoming July through June period. This list must be provided to the school principal or child day care facility administrator by April 30 each year.
The notice must include among other things:
- The name of pesticide products (and the main active ingredient) to be used
- A map showing the location of the field to be treated
- Contact information for the grower/operator and the CAC
- The website address for the National Pesticide Information Center where additional information on pesticides may be obtained
- The regulation also includes a provision that allows flexibility to accommodate extracurricular activities and other factors. Public K-12 schools /licensed child day care facilities and growers may develop alternative arrangements that provide equal or more protection than the regulation, but it must be in writing and approved by the CAC.