High Pesticide Use Near Some Ventura County Schools Shows Need for More Action, Jackson Says

April 29, 2014

SACRAMENTO – Today, farmworker, health and children’s advocates are holding news conferences around the state on a recently released California Department of Public Health report on agricultural pesticide use near California public schools.  In response, State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) released the following statement:

“I commend the California Department of Public Health for this report, which powerfully illustrates how closely our children are in the path of pesticides. Ventura County has more schools near very heavy pesticide applications than any other county in California. Our state’s Latino children are 91% more likely to attend schools in close proximity to the most dangerous pesticide use. I believe we need to reduce the use of our most hazardous pesticides, and support our growers in ways to find safe and effective replacements. I believe we need strong statewide regulations of pesticides to accomplish this goal.

And although I commend the CDPH and this report, I firmly believe that we should not be learning this kind of information from reports, years after the fact.
Parents and community members have a right to know about pesticide applications before they happen, so they can take precautions – like closing their windows, and keeping their children inside. Our laws only require notification of schools and residences if they are near impending methyl bromide fumigation. But there many other hazardous pesticides that are applied without the community even knowing when and where it is occurring.

Our communities and our most vulnerable residents, our children, aren’t sufficiently protected. While my bill, SB 1411, died in committee last week for lack of votes, I pledge to continue working on this issue to give parents, children and farmworkers ‘the right to know’ about pesticide exposure.”

This year, Jackson authored Senate Bill 1411 requiring that schools and residences be notified about an impending pesticide application within a quarter mile of them, so they can keep windows closed, minimize children’s time outside, and bring toys inside or cover them. Facing stiff opposition from the California Farm Bureau, the bill died in the Senate Agriculture Committee last week.

More than a decade ago, when she was serving in the State Assembly, Jackson authored AB 947, which was signed into law, and gave county agricultural commissioners the authority to regulate pesticides within a quarter mile of schools.

Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.