In the state of California all residents have the right to obtain pesticide use records under both the Healthy Schools Act of 2000 and the California Public Records Act. Ask for names and labels of all products used as well as any relevant records - it’s your right to know.
All schools in the state are required to maintain pesticide application records for 4 years. Records must include what pesticide was applied, when it was applied, where it was applied, and how much was applied.
Ask your school office for pesticide records of the last calendar year. Bring your knowledge of the law with you. If the school does not have these records, ask them to direct you to the school district’s Director of Facilities or the Director of Landscape who would best assist you with your request.
How to register for the voluntary 72-hour pesticide notification
The Healthy Schools Act of 2000 mandates the right to know prior to a pesticide application on public school grounds. Ask your school office where you can register for the 72-hour pesticide notification. This notification will allow you time to take action on the upcoming application.
The Healthy Schools Act of 2000 states a “warning sign shall be visible to all persons entering the treated area and shall be posted 24 hours prior to the application and remain posted until 72 hours after the application.” The sign must include pesticide name, manufacturer, intended date and the reason for application.
Request pesticide application records of the past 12 months from your city clerk’s office. You will most likely need to fill out a form requesting the information and pay a fee.
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CA DPR) regulates pesticides in the state. The law requires monthly reports of agricultural pesticide use. Agricultural use includes pesticide applications to parks, golf courses, cemeteries, rangeland, pastures, and along roadside and railroad rights-of-way. These records are required to be kept on file for 2 years. Reports are made to county agricultural commissioners who report the data to the CA DPR.
Details of specific locations are not generally included in these reports.
For non-agricultural use, notice is required to be given prior to an application but that notification does not need to be in the area where pesticides are being applied, nor does it need to state the time or location of the application. The requirement of law is to state the date or dates, the pesticide, and statements of precaution.
Prop 65 is enforced by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). Based on the findings of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A),” CA added glyphosate to Prop 65. In response, Monsanto brought a lawsuit against CA so that they would not be required to have a warning label on the packaging of glyphosate-based products. There is a temporary injunction at the moment from adding a warning label to the packaging. However, glyphosate remains listed on California’s Prop 65 and OEHHA stands by their decision.
The EPA says they are unsure of a link between glyphosate and cancer, but the EPA only examines a select group of studies that are submitted by industry themselves. Perhaps not surprisingly, the industry studies do not show a great risk of harm. Furthermore, the EPA considers the economic benefits of having a product on the market, and that carries substantial weight in their approval process. However, the IARC, a division of the World Health Organization, examines all published studies on a compound or product, and they do not give weight to any economic benefits. They are strictly looking at carcinogenicity. As a result of studying the world body of science on glyphosate, they have found considerable risk for cancer. New studies recently released support IARC’s categorization of glyphosate as a probable carcinogen.
Other pesticides on the Prop 65 list require a warning notification by employers under specific circumstances which are elucidated on the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) website. Warnings for the general public may be given several ways, such as labeling a consumer product, posting signs in affected areas, sending notices to affected residents, or publishing notices in a newspaper according to CDPR.