Lindsay supports pesticide-free zone
By Paul Myers
lindsay – Keeping kids safe from danger is a fulltime job. And while you might be able to keep dangerous products out of the hands of children within your own home, there is little you can do while they are at school.
El Quinto Sol, a grassroots organization that works with Lindsay in addition to other unincorporated communities in Tulare County, has been fighting to garner the support of the Lindsay City Council for a Healthy Kids Zone. The Healthy Kids Zone intends to establish a quarter-mile protection zone from grounds applied with pesticides near areas where children “live, learn, and play.” While that can be construed to be any place where children are present, the zone is mostly discussed in regards to schools and homes.
Organizer with El Quinto Sol, Angel Garcia asserted at a previous council meeting in May that he has already gathered the support from the Farmersville City Council. In addition, Garcia brought in a number of farm workers ranging in age who testified that ground application of pesticides have had a negative impact on their health.
One woman said that she suffered impaired vision from pesticides that were sprayed near her home. Another testimony came from a young girl who states that her father tells her to go inside when they spray the crops near her home. She said that her father fears that there will be serious health effects from breathing in the pesticides.
With a number of testimonials, Garcia approached the Tulare County Ag Commissioner’s Office in search of its support as well. In a letter addressed to Lindsay interim City Manager Bill Zigler in regards to the Healthy Kids Zone, Ag Commissioner Marilyn Kinoshita noted that that California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) is weeks away from unveiling a draft regulation package that will involve some type of notification related to ag-related pesticide use to school site administrators statewide.
Also, Kinoshita’s letter was able to shed light on the authorities of pesticide use regulation.
“Only the CDPR regulates pesticides under a comprehensive program that encompasses enforcement of pesticide use in agricultural and urban environment,” Kinoshita’s letter said. “CDPR oversees a multi-tiered enforcement infrastructure and is vested by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with primary responsibility to enforce federal pesticide law in California. As well, CDPR directs and oversees the county agricultural commissioners who carry out and enforce pesticides and environmental laws and regulations locally.”
Kinoshita’s letter stated that other invested parties concerned over school site application have been involved in the forging of new regulations as well. The CDPR’s movement toward greater regulation, in particular at school sites, makes support at the city level negligible as regulation occurs with or without them.
Therefore, the council pledged their support for the Health Kid Zone in a unanimous 3-0 vote, with Danny Salinas and Steve Mecum absent. The council’s support formally recognizes the important grass-roots work of the organization but at the same time acknowledges the limitation of city governments in the regulation of pesticides.