SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A new report by the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) has shown an increase in cancer risk from fumigant pesticides frequently used in combination near schools. In response to the report’s findings, a coalition of parents, health professionals, teachers, and food advocates has urged state policymakers to create stronger protections for schoolchildren across the state.
“Pesticides used near schools mix to make an even more toxic combination,” said Sarah Aird, acting executive director of Californians for Pesticide Reform. “The real-life applications of pesticides pose significant threat, one that Department of Pesticide Regulation officials aren’t taking into account. They need to provide better protections — particularly for our most vulnerable populations.” Fumigant pesticides are difficult-to-control, highly volatile gases injected into the soil to control pests around crops like strawberries, grapes, and orchard and root crops. They can persist in the air for days and are applied together or in quick succession, yet state officials fail to consider the health risks from being exposed multiple pesticides as part of pesticide evaluations.