In March 2011, the State of California began preparation of a statewide Pest Environmental Impact Report (PEIR). If approved, the PEIR will provide advance approval for the state to spray pesticides in our communities and on our food whenever they want, for any insect they consider a threat, anywhere in the state, for years into the future, and the public’s ability to challenge these programs would be severely restricted or in many cases, completely eliminated.
Pesticides are associated with a long list of serious health disorders, and children are particularly vulnerable because of their small size, rapidly developing bodies, and behaviors that increase their exposure. Even tiny amounts of some pesticides can cause serious health risks.
The pesticides the California Department of Food and Agriculture has published for evaluation in the PEIR may cause serious health effects from miscarriage and birth defects to delayed puberty and impacts on reproductive hormones. These chemicals, used in our communities, on farms, and on our food, create an unacceptable health risk for California residents. Also, there is no evidence that these pesticides are working to eliminate the targeted pests. Since 1982, the state has undertaken more than 387 “emergency” eradication projects, most of them repeating annually for the same 9 insects.
State programs should: (1) be based on sound scientific evaluations of the actual risks posed by introduced species; (2) be effective against targeted pests; and (3) take into consideration the threat to human health from repeated chemical treatments in neighborhoods and on our food.
There are healthier alternatives to the PEIR. A group of independent scientists at University of California (UC), Davis is working with scientific and trade experts from all over North America to develop a modernized, less toxic, more effective and cost-effective approach to managing pests that is also less burdensome to farmers than the current “quarantine and spray” approach.
MOMS Advocating Sustainability and the California Environmental Health Initiative have been instrumental in spearheading the opposition to the PEIR and promoting the work at UC Davis. We have organized a coalition of more than 75 organizations to oppose the PEIR. Coalition members include: Healthy Child, Healthy World; Organic Consumers Association; Breast Cancer Fund; and Physicians for Social Responsibility. We regularly meet with senior officials in Sacramento, inform our press contacts about the issues, and have engaged leading environmental attorneys to assist us.
Please join us in helping to stop the Pest PEIR process and encourage the work at UC Davis. We are asking the state to create a decision-making process regarding pest management that meaningfully prioritizes health impacts and relies on technologies and strategies that do not expose farmers, farmworkers, nursery operators, and the public to toxic chemicals.
To get involved, please write, phone, or fax California Governor Brown to ask him to stop the preparation of the Statewide Pest Programmatic Environmental Impact Report and ask him to support independent scientists at UC Davis who are working to develop a modernized, less toxic, more effective, and more economical approach to managing pests that is also less burdensome to our farmers. It’s simple. Phone scripts and letters are available here.