Growers in California will have to begin notifying schools near agricultural fields what kinds of pesticides they’re planning to apply in the surrounding areas a year in advance, as prescribed by new regulations that took effect in 2018. Growers will have to tell school officials in writing about the pesticides they are expected to use within a quarter mile of K-12 schools and daycare center. Fines for not notifying schools could exceed $5,000. The CA Department of Pesticide Regulation has developed a website where school administrators can log in to identify these chemicals.
The new rules respond to a 2014 report that identified Monterey County as having the largest percentage of schools near the highest concentration of pesticide use in the state. The new regulations will affect 4,100 public K-12 schools and licensed child day care sites and involve approximately 2,500 organic and conventional CA farmers.
Among the highlights, the new rules ban California growers from making some pesticide applications from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday within a quarter of a mile of schools and day care centers. The applications that are prohibited are by aircraft (with crop dusters), with air blasters or sprinklers, and most dust and powder pesticides.