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Chloropicrin Hearings in Fresno

June 19, 2013

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June 19, 2013

Earlier this week the Department of Pesticide Regulation held two community meetings in Fresno’s Farm Bureau as part of a series of hearing around the state in regards to the fumigant pesticide Chloropicrin.  Chloropicrin is a substance used primarily to cultivate strawberries, almonds, and fruit trees.  This substance has been linked to various health hazards and places residents of the San Joaquin Valley at a higher risk of exposure.

The hearings were DPR’s effort to inform and get feedback from the public about their new control measures and mitigation plans.  Currently U.S. EPA has set standards for controlling and mitigating the effects of chloropicrin that apply nationwide.  The Department of Pesticide Regulation will take those recommendations and amend them to make regulations for the state.  It is important to note however that ultimately individual County Ag Commissioner can place the final regulations on this pesticide.  The hierarchy of strict implementations cannot be broken–that is, Ag Commissioners cannot lift or place more lenient regulations than those proposed by DPR, and DPR cannot lift or place more lenient regulations that those proposed by the EPA.  However they can place more strict regulations and continue to hold jurisdiction.

Among the proposed DPR regulations there are a few changes worth noting.  DPR is proposing longer buffer zones than EPA in most cases, more comprehensive public information dispersion, some additions to the controversial “sensory irritation monitoring” that would trigger emergency response operations, restrictions on amount of time a tarp needs to be in place before cutting, and acrage limits with or without overlapping buffer zones.  For more specifics please see: http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/whs/pdf/summary_chloropicrin_mitigation_5-15-2013.pdf

Although the regulations by DPR are more strict and comprehensive than those issued by the U.S. EPA, CCEJN feels that these restrictions are not sufficient to mitigate the effects that chloropicrin has on San Joaquin Valley counties.  For this reason CCEJN will be submitting a formal letter to the department with recommendations we feel do more to protect our families.  That letter will ask for even larger buffer zones, the elimination of sensory irritation monitoring, and moving towards TIF only application among others.

Although CCEJN will make these minor recommendations, we are also sympathetic and in agreement with the work of other organizations, like Californians for Pesticide Reform, who are asking to phase out chloropicrin by the year 2020.  If you share our commitment to eliminating this pesticide, we urge you to write an e-mail or letter to the Department of Pesticide Regulation asking them to phase out chloropicrin by the year 2020.  Those e-mails or letters could be sent to Linda O’Connell.  For Linda’s e-mail/address please see here: http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/whs/chloropicrin.htm .

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Note From The Editor: Please excuse the poor photo quality
Note From The Editor: Once the letter is ready, we will post it here!

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**EDIT**
July 19, 2013

Yesterday, the Department of Pesticide Regulation announced that it will extend it’s public comment period until August 31, 2013.  You still have time to fill out the individual petition that demand stricter regulations on Chloropicrin:  http://action.panna.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=13678&utm_source=action&utm_medium=alert&utm_content=food&utm_campaign=fumigants

The existing petition is from PANNA, a coalition member of Californians for Pesticide Reform–our long time partner agency.
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