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New State Rules Announced to Protect Students from Unintended Pesticide Exposure

December 4, 2017

On November 13, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson praised the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) for adopting new rules to further protect students and school communities from pesticide exposure. These rules will take effect on January 1, 2018 and regulate agricultural pesticide use near schools and licensed child-care facilities.

“Children, teachers, school staff, parents, and school communities need safe healthy school environments to learn and succeed, and that includes protection from unintended, unhealthy pesticide exposure,” said Torlakson. “I thank Director Brian Leahy and the Department of Pesticide Regulation for their work in adopting stricter regulations with particular attention to avoiding chemical drift onto school sites. I am pleased we will have an additional layer of protection.”

With the new regulations, California growers must tell schools in advance what pesticides will be used nearby. Starting January 1, 2018, public K-12 schools, licensed day-care facilities, and county agricultural commissioners must be provided annual notification of the pesticides expected to be used within a quarter mile of schools and facilities in the upcoming year. Pesticide applications will be prohibited within a quarter mile of these schools and facilities between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“These rules will help to further protect the health of children, teachers and school staff from unintended pesticide exposure,” said Brian Leahy, DPR director. “They build on our existing strict regulations and give an additional layer of protection.”

Although numerous local rules already exist to protect students from pesticide applications near schools, this is the first consistent statewide standard. The policy was created during a two-year process that included discussions with groups directly affected, including farmers and school communities, and 19,000 public comments.

The rules are expected to affect about 4,100 public K-12 schools and licensed child day-care facilities and approximately 2,500 growers, according to the DPR. In addition to increasing restrictions, the policy is designed to increase communication between growers and school facilities. The new regulation and more information can be found at this DPR webpage.

Source:  California Department of Education

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