State Proposes Pesticide Notification Rule
(Beyond Pesticides, November 17, 2005) According to a November 15, 2005 story in the Olympian newspaper (Olympia, WA), a pesticide notification rule aimed to reduce the likelihood of pesticide exposure to children, the elderly and the sick is under review by the Washington Department of Agriculture. Under the proposed rule, schools, hospitals, nursing homes and state-licensed adult- or childcare centers would receive 48-hour advance notice of aerial spraying, a ground application called air blasting or outside fumigation involving pesticides next to or within 1/2 mile of the protected sites.
“Everyone has the right to know when children are exposed to agricultural chemicals,” Olympia resident Harry Branch told the Olympian. State Department of Agriculture Director Valoria Loveland is expected to rule on the proposal Nov. 29. The proposed rule would take effect Jan. 1.
Public interest groups, education officials and some Olympia residents supported the rule but said it didn't go far enough. “The proposed rule is a good first step,” Elizabeth Davis of the League of Women Voters of Washington said to the Olympian. But notification should be extended to all children and adults who live, work and play near pesticide spray zones, and apply to a broader range of pesticides, she said.
The state agency
should also institute no-spray buffer zones and air monitoring, said
Angela Storey of the Washington Toxics Coalition. She also recommended
restrictions on the use of drift-prone pesticides and drift-prone equipment
and expansion of the list of pesticides covered by the rule.
Conventional fruit growers and others say the proposed rule will hurt them. Frank Lyall, a Yakima Valley fruit tree grower told the Olympian that the ruling would be devastating farms in Eastern Washington. Environmentalists, on the other hand, believe protection of public health should be the priority, and hope that farmers may take this opportunity to consider going organic.