We need protections from pesticides around our homes, schools, hospitals and waters!
Families across Hawai‘i are concerned about the use of a combination of highly hazardous and restricted use pesticides in close proximity to schools, homes, local hospitals and waterways. On Kaua‘i alone, 18 tons of 22 different 'Restricted Use Pesticides' (RUPs) were purchased for use per year between 2010-2012 by agrochemical companies conducting research on the islands (Monsanto, Dow Chemical, Dupont-Pioneer, Syngenta, and BASF). According to documents gained from a lawsuit by Kaua‘i residents:
"DuPont-Pioneer applied 90 different pesticide formulations containing 63 different active ingredients on Kaua`i from 2007 to 2012. The company sprayed on two-thirds (65%) of the days over this period and made from 8.3 to 16 applications per application day on average."
There are at least 27 schools in the state of Hawai‘i within a mile of large-scale agricultural operations and biotech research facilities using these pesticides.
School-children and teachers near one of the fields have collapsed multiple times after smelling noxious odors, and Chlorpyrifos (a brain-harming RUP) and other pesticides were found in air samples of Waimea Canyon Middle School.
Body tests on Hawai‘i children living near these fields revealed exposure to up to 39 different pesticides.
Parents and community leaders are calling for pesticide protection zones around schools, homes and hospitals. On Kaua‘i, one such law was passed by the County Council in 2013 (Bill 2491/Ord. 960), but has not been enforced due to a lawsuit by the Dow Chemical, Dupont-Pioneer, Syngenta, and BASF corporations agains the County of Kaua‘i.
Bills have been introduced both in 2015 and in the current legislative session that would create buffer zones and disclosure requirement for the largest users of restricted use pesticides (i.e. House Bill (HB) 2564). (See national news coverage of the Feb. 9th hearing).
Information about the Health Impacts of Pesticides
In recent years, several landmark studies have highlighted the health concerns associated with pesticide exposure in children, pregnant women, and pesticide applicators: (click links for full articles)
The American Academy of Pediatrics’ “Pesticide Exposure in Children” (2012) lists numerous health concerns and recommendations for protecting children, such as buffer zones and disclosure warnings.
The University of California at Davis report, “Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Prenatal Residential Proximity to Agricultural Pesticides: The CHARGE Study” (2014), links the long term use of Glyphosate to the increased incidence of autism.
The American Cancer Society’s “Increased Cancer Burden Among Pesticide Applicators and Others Due to Pesticide Exposure” (2013) states definitively that people who live and work around agricultural areas that have high pesticide use suffer a greater incidence of certain cancers and
other medical problems.
The New England Journal of Medicine "GMOs, Herbicides, and Public Health", August 20, 2015 questions the validity of previous scientific reviews on the safety of GMOs, pointing to a lack of consideration for the "overreliance on herbicides and, in particular, on glyphosate [which the] International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has . . . as a “probable human carcinogen.”
Learn more in this comprehensive Review of Scientific Literature Relevant to Pesticide Buffer Zones.
Other states already have buffer zone requirements.
The Arizona Department of Agriculture, for example, has required buffer zones to protect human health since 1986. In Arizona, ground application of liquid or dust pesticides are applied no closer than ¼ mile from a school or daycare facility and 400 feet from any health care facility.
Many individual California counties have policies that restrict pesticide use near schools and other sensitive areas. In Tulare and Kern counties, 1/4 mile buffer zones were implemented around schools after local residents documented contamination in school air.
In new Hampshire, the state pesticide laws provide buffer zones for aquatic areas and watersheds, stating that no pesticides are to be applied within 250 feet of the reference lines of surface waters or their tributaries used for public water supply. And in Oregon, there are now buffer zones restricting pesticide use around streams and rivers to protect salmon and endangered species.
Why not Hawai‘i schools, hospitals and homes?
Stand up to protect Hawai‘i children, communities, and natural resources from pesticide use by global chemical companies using the islands for research.