California Assemblyman Das Williams on Tuesday introduced Assembly Bill 304, which would create an enforceable timeline for the Department of Pesticide Regulation to adopt mitigation measures for pesticides identified as toxic air contaminants (TACs).
Air fumigants are some of the most dangerous pesticides on the market. They are applied in large quantities, vaporize easily, drift away from where they are applied, and expose nearby workers and other community members to harm.
The proposed legislation would require the DPR to mitigate these air toxins, which are of greatest potential concern to our communities within two years of the department determining that additional mitigation measures are necessary in order to properly protect public health.
“The time to act is now,” Williams said. “These toxic pesticides can cause irreparable health problems for farmers and the public at large. Sprayed pesticides don’t stay in one place. Reducing the impact of these pesticides is our duty and responsibility to protect the people of California.”
There are hundreds of registered pesticides in California. The DPR has completed the review process for only eight of them in the past 25 years. An additional 35 pesticides were automatically listed as TAC pesticides because of their status on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s list of Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs or HAPTACs). However, being federally listed does not ensure that additional mitigation measures will be implemented.
Imposing a timeline for action would give farmers timely information to help protect our communities. This law could do a tremendous amount to reduce pesticide air pollution.
— Josh Molina is a communications specialist for Assemblyman Das Williams.