Tens of thousands of school children in California are being impacted by pesticide exposure, cites a new survey conducted by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).
Schools situated in close proximity to farms and other agriculture fields, are putting students at risk of pesticide exposure on a regular basis.
The CDPH surveyed pesticide use near 2,500 schools located in 15 California counties known for heavy levels of pesticides. Schools were identified as being “near” a pesticide source if they were within ¼ mile from a farm. The study could not say whether or not the students were at any risk of developing health problems as a result to the proximity to the pesticides.
Among the counties with the closest distance between schools and farms were Monterey, Ventura, Tulare, and Fresno counties.
The survey also found that Latino school children were 91 percent more likely to attend schools near heavily sprayed farms and fields than were white students.
According to Dr. Asa Bradman, director of the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health at UC Berkeley, “We’re trying to understand how pesticides are used, what their potential toxicity is, identify communities where additional research is warranted, and then potentially take steps to reduce those exposures,” Bradman told KQED.
The survey comes just after a pesticide safety bill failed to pass through a state senate committee. If passed, the measure would have enacted stricter requirements for farm operators to alert the local residents and schools about their pesticide use.
By: Jill Ettinger