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...more than 22,000 children attend school near sites of heavy use of toxic pesticides

 Date:        Wed, 21 Feb 2001 09:21:44 -0500
From:        Stephen Tvedten <>
Organization:     Get Set Inc. (

To:     Paul Helliker <>
          Director, State of California, Department of Pesticide Regulation 

cc:    Christine Whitman

Dear Mr. Helliker,  I thought you might like to read an article entitled: TOXIC PESTICIDE FOUND IN CALIFORNIA AIR SAMPLES.

FRESNO, California, February 20, 2001 (ENS) - Independent scientific monitoring by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has found high concentrations of a partially banned pesticide in the air some California residents breathe.

One-third of ambient air monitoring samples from the San Joaquin Valley detected the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which the federal government has banned for home use as unsafe for children. Chlorpyrifos remains the most widely used agricultural insecticide in California.

Pesticide use in Fresno, Kern and Tulare counties puts more than 15 million pounds of toxic chemicals into the air each year. In those counties, more than 22,000 children attend school near sites of heavy use of toxic pesticides.

At a news conference in Fresno today, EWG, Pesticide Watch, the Fresno Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides and the Comite Para el Bienestar de Earlimart released the results of the air monitoring project. Their report also includes a list of all toxic pesticides used near Valley schools.

"Every parent, and everyone else who cares about our children's health, has a right to know what toxic chemicals kids may be exposed to at school," said Bill Walker, EWG's California director. "When we send our kids off to school, we want to know they'll spend the day in a safe environment."  (Not exposed to neurotoxins (nerve gas)!)

Children's developing bodies and brains are known to be more susceptible to the effects of toxic pesticides. Thousands of California children attend schools adjacent to or surrounded by fields where pesticide use totals tens of thousands of pounds (of just the active ingredient) a year.

A new report from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation says cases of people being poisoned by drifting pesticides increased by 20 percent last year. Drifting pesticides can pose health risks for people miles away from the fields.

A National Cancer Institute researcher who matched pesticide data and medical records in 10 California agricultural counties reported last week that pregnant women living within nine miles of farms where pesticides are sprayed on fields may have an increased risk of losing an unborn baby to birth defects.

Well Mr. Helliker, are you proud of the above "accomplishments" and that "cases of people being poisoned by (your "registered") drifting pesticides (POISONS) increased by 20 percent last year"?  There is only one way to stop this terrible carnage and that is for you to allow the use of safe and far more effective (unregistered) alternatives.  If your "registered" POISONS worked but created an unacceptable risk - one would question if the risk justified the "benefit".  If your "registered POISONS were "safe" but did not "control' the pests - one would question why you required their use?  But when your "registered" POISONS obviously cause unacceptable risks and do not even "control" pest problems  - one has to ask why in the HELL you are STILL demanding that ONLY your "registered", useless and terrible toxins MUST continue to be used!

Respectfully,  Stephen L. Tvedten


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