Mar 17, 2017
California revises proposed rules for pesticide use near schools

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has 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.

According to DPR, 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.

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, according to DPR. 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 Jan. 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 and 5:00 p.m. on April 4 to [email protected]. 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.

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