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Toxic Pesticide Found in Air Near California Farms

Aug 30, 2013

California’s environmental regulators have detected traces of a highly toxic pesticide in the air near three busy farming communities.

According to a report from eNews Park Forest, testing conducted by officials with the state’s Dept. of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) found traces of the pesticide chlorpyrifos in nearly one-third of the air samples collected in Kern County.

Kern County is a heavily farmed area in central California, home to many industrial-sized farms. The air samples were collected near the communities of Ripon, Salinas, and Shafter, according to the eNews Park Forest report.

DPR testing was looking for traces of more than 30 pesticides commonly used in these farming operations. Methyl bromide was among those under the scope of the DPR testing. The California agency compared the results in its samples against safe norms that it had previously established to determine if the pesticides found in the air were at unsafe levels and posed public health risks.

Critics of this testing said that it was not done at peak times of farming and that there is no health agency at the state or federal levels that has ever weighed in on the risks posed by pesticides in the air. DPR said the samples it collected did not indicate that these pesticides had posed any risk to public health, according to the eNews Park Forest report.

A California-based advocacy group said that the testing conducted by DPR was substandard and that its own testing, completed by the Pesticide Action Network, leads it to believe that pesticides in the air in these and other communities are putting children’s health at risk.

In fact, children are not the only ones at risk, according to the Pesticide Action Network.

That group says that nearly 60 out of every 100,000 workers in these industrial agricultural operations are diagnosed with pesticide poisoning every year, according to the eNews Park Forest report.

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