Californians have the right to know where unsafe agricultural pesticides will be used


Supporters spoke up in this action

Delivery to California Department of Pesticide Regulation

Action ended on January 12, 2024

What Happens Next

Thank you to all who took action! We’re grateful for your support.

What Was At Stake

California uses more agricultural pesticides than any other state in the U.S. — applying over 200 million pounds per year. However, information about when and where those pesticides will be applied, and which chemicals will be used is still hard to come by. Hopefully, that’s about to change. The state agency in charge of pesticide regulation has proposed a new rule that would inform the public before hazardous pesticides are applied to agricultural fields. Tell the Department of Pesticide Regulation: Californians have the right to know where unsafe agricultural pesticides will be used.

For many years now, residents of farmworking communities have been calling for advance warning of pesticide use near their homes and schools. Science clearly shows that pesticides can and do drift far from fields where they’re applied. Research also makes clear that chronic exposure to pesticides can cause health harms that last a lifetime, including cancer and damage to children’s developing brains.

We applaud this precedent-setting proposal to provide Californians with the basic right to know about the planned use of toxic chemicals in our neighborhoods.

However, the Department’s proposal would not provide the exact location of planned pesticide applications. Instead, it would only give the 1×1 square mile “section” — even though the exact field location is known to county officials in advance. Without an exact location, these notifications won’t provide the information people need to protect themselves.

For years Earthjustice has advocated for a healthy, safe, and fair food system that would protect us all and safeguard the health of farmworkers, farmers, rural communities, and consumers. Communities should also be given an opportunity to provide ongoing feedback on how to improve this advance warning system.

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation has a chance to do the right thing and not waste this crucial opportunity, but they need to hear from us. We all have the right to know where and when toxic pesticides will be used in our communities.

Agricultural fields surrounding schools in Salinas, CA. Oct. 26, 2018.
Agricultural fields surrounding schools in Salinas, CA. Oct. 26, 2018. (Martin Do Nascimento / Earthjustice)

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