Right to Know

“The federal EPA and California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) have not adequately dealt with interactive effects,” says John Froines, a report coauthor and a chemist with decades of experience assessing health risks of toxic chemicals as a scientist and regulator. “People are exposed to a large number of chemicals. You can’t simply look chemical by chemical to adequately address the toxicity of these compounds.”

Dr. Froines speaks to The Nation about a new UCLA report he co-authored that says pesticide mixtures may increase health risks but are still unregulated by California. Link is HERE

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has a decades-long history of evading disclosure of the human health and environmental impacts of its activities by granting itself repeated “emergency” exemptions from environmental laws.  This is happening now in the Ojai Valley in the name of protecting the agricultural industry from the Asian Citrus Psylid, that has continued to spread from Mexico into  Sacramento since 2010 with no way to stop it.

Citrus growers in the Ojai Valley have been asked to spray their citrus crops repeatedly (up to four times per year) for the last 3 years by the Ventura County ACP-HLB Task Force (no web site) and the grower liason assigned to Ventura County by CDFA. Recently, CDFA has declared a state of emergency based on a detection of the ACP and issued an AMENDMENT NOTICE OF TREATMENT FOR THE ASIAN CITRUS PSYLLID for Ventura County dated July 29, 2019 and available HERE

Screen Shot 2019-09-17 at 12.38.52 PM.png Even though they say “the ACP infestation is sufficiently isolated and localized to be amenable to the CDFA’s ACP treatment workplan”, we now know from watching it spread over the last 10 years and from scientific studies and research there is no know way to stop the spread.

Unfortunately, current law provides that as conditions warrant, CDFA can enter private property and citrus orchards within 1/4 mile of a detection (without consent) by providing a mailing or a public hearing,  which includes information on what is being sprayed (chemical name) and when (withing 48 hours).  This type of notice is inadequate, and exposes people to environmental toxins who are unable to protect themselves, their pets or their property from unwanted exposure.  We have a “right to know” what environmental hazards exist that are toxic to our bees, fish and water supplies so we can take precautions to prevent exposure.  Orchards are voluntarily being treted with pesticides to comply with the Ventura County AREA WIDE MANAGEMENT promoted by the Ventura County Farm Bureau and the ACP-HLB Task Force that the public knows nothing about.


On February 22, 2018, Superior Court Judge for County of Sacramento, Timothy M. Frawley, decided in favor of the petitioners that CDFA and its Secretary violated the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) by certifying the Program Environmental Impact Report (“PEIR”) for the Statewide Plant Pest Prevention and Management Program and approving that project.

The petitioners allege that the CDFA also violated California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by expanding the Statewide Plant Pest Prevention and Management Program to allow increased use of the “Merit 2F” and “Acelepryn” pesticides for the treatment of Japanese beetles, without adequate environmental review.

The petitioners include:
North Coast Rivers Alliance, Pesticide Free Zone, Inc” Health and Habitat, Inc” Californians for Alternatives to Toxics, and Gayle McLaughlin (the “North Coast Petitioners”L and Environmental Working Group, City of Berkeley, Center for Food Safety, Pesticide Action Network North America, Beyond Pesticides, California Environmental Health Initiative, Environmental Action Committee of West MarinI Safe Alternatives for Our Forest Environment, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Environmental Health, Californians for Pesticide Reform, and Moms Advocating Sustainability (the “EWG Petitioners”)The Judge’s Ruling  https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/pesticides_reduction/pdfs/2018-2-22-California-Dept-of-Food-and-Ag-pesticides-ruling.pdf

More background information is HERE

UCLA STUDY reveals County AG Commissioners are not following least toxic alternatives or the cumulative effects of pesticide exposure.

State law requires that when farmers apply for pesticide use permits, county agricultural commissioners must deny the use of a restricted pesticide when feasible safer alternative pesticides — as well as measures like using tarps or creating pesticide “buffer zones” that could mitigate the chemicals’ impact — are available.

But a new study by UCLA and University of Southern California researchers concludes that commissioners are issuing permits for pesticide use without considering safer alternatives, and without evaluating the health implications of “cumulative exposure,” which occurs when growers apply two or more pesticides to the same or adjacent fields.

More info here: California State and County Officials Falling Short in Evaluating Use of Agricultural Pesticides

The report is the third in a series that reviews California pesticide regulation; the studies are conducted by researchers at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, UCLA School of Law, UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, and USC’s Keck School of Medicine. The prior reports documented similar flaws in how the Department of Pesticide Regulation registers pesticides for use on California farms.

► Read the researchers’ 2013 report and their 2016 report on California pesticide permitting

“The law here is very clear,” said Timothy Malloy, the report’s lead author and a UCLA professor of law and of environmental health sciences. “Before issuing these permits, the county agricultural commissioners must evaluate potential cumulative exposures and must consider safer alternatives to the proposed pesticide use. That isn’t happening.”

California Community Right to Know: What you need to know

Governing Law and Regulations

Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) (also known as Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) Title III), 42 USC 11001 to 11050, and regulations at 40 CFR 350 to 372