Gov. Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill 304, a bill designed to protect people from harmful pesticides identified as Toxic Air Contaminants (TACs).
The bill will require the Department of Pesticide Regulation to develop mitigation measures for the use of harmful pesticides.
“This is a victory for everyone who cares about the health and safety of the people in our community,” said Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara. “These toxic pesticides don’t stay in one place. They drift and can cause serious health problems. Now we can begin to identify ways to remove these toxins from our environment.”
The DPR will have two years to reduce the effects of harmful air toxins once the department determines that additional mitigation measures are necessary. Fumigants are some of the most dangerous pesticides on the market. They are applied in large quantities, vaporize easily, drift away and expose nearby workers and other community members to harm.
“Californians have a right to breathe clean air, and not worry if it will make them or their families sick," said Anne Katten of the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation. "Pesticide exposure can cause serious immediate and long-term health impacts — from asthma attacks to cancer. By setting a timeline for adopting controls, this law will reduce pesticide exposure and help people across the state, especially farmworkers and others living near agricultural fields — to breathe a little more safely."
Paul Towers, spokesman for Californians for Pesticide Reform and Pesticide Action Network North America, praised the signing of the bill.
“Reducing use of these highly toxic and drift-prone pesticides is an effective way to protect health of farmworkers and other rural residents,” Towers said.
— Josh Molina is the communications director for Assemblyman Das Williams.