Local activists demanding change to how pesticides are used around schools

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Local activists are demanding change after seeing the results of a UCLA study that looks at the harmful effects of pesticides. The fumigants are used on crops here in the Central Valley.

Angel Garcia with El Quinto Sol De America is demanding all day no-spray buffer zones near schools when it comes to spraying the most harmful pesticides on crops. Garcia said a new UCLA study reveals three fumigants called Chloropicrin, Telone and Metam salts increase cancer and other health risks to farmworkers and people who live near where they're used. "We know they're used heavily here in Fresno County. Actually, Fresno County is among the top counties that uses these three pesticides."

The study published by the sustainable technology and policy program based at UCLA shows the pesticides, when applied in combination, can be especially hazardous. Garcia said they're also among the top fumigants used within a quarter mile of schools and are used on local strawberries and tomatoes. "Like all fumigants, they are among the most toxic and difficult to control."

Avoiding pesticide spraying can be tough for people living in rural communities. Orange Cove High School is right across the street from a citrus grove. Orange Cove mother Claudia Angulo said the results of the UCLA study are alarming but not surprising. Her Nine-year-old son Isaac was one of the test subjects in a french study recently done on pesticides. Researchers took strands of his hair revealing he had more than 50 types of pesticides in his system. "Because, as a mother of four I'm concerned about the dangers pesticides pose on my kids' health," said Angulo.

Angulo said she believes the pesticide use near her house and children's school contributes to her son's allergies and ADHD. She wants the state to impose buffer zones and investigate the health risks pesticides pose on children.

Something the UCLA study says the department of pesticide regulation is required to do but doesn't.
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