Analysis reveals cancer-linked Telone is 20% of all pesticides used in Stanislaus County
Who is affected by pesticide use?
The residents of Stanislaus County are at potential risk of health harm associated with the spraying of pesticides on agricultural fields in the region. Stanislaus County is one of 10 counties in California with the heaviest pesticide use. Almost half the county’s residents identify as Hispanic or Latino, above the state average of 39.4
percent, according to the most recent U.S. census.
How are pesticides toxic?
Pesticides are toxic chemicals used to kill pests or plants (weeds) that might interfere with crop growth. They can be solid, gas or liquid, and there are many different modes of application. In California, some pesticides are restricted and require a permit and notification of the county before use. Restricted pesticides can be more toxic or more prone to contaminate water or damage other crops. Telone is one of the most used highly toxic pesticides in Stanislaus County. It is used on fields before planting almonds, in particular, and other crops, including sweet potatoes, walnuts, and fruits. Its main ingredient is a chemical known as 1,3-Dichloropropene, or 1,3-D. California has identified 1,3-D as a cancer-causing chemical under the state’s Proposition 65 warning and notice program. Once applied, it can drift—in this case, miles from the initial site of application.
How much Telone is used?
More than 1.3 million pounds of 1,3-D were applied to fields in Stanislaus County in 2021—more than one-fifth of the county’s total pesticide use.
Why we are concerned?
Children who attend a school or live near where pesticides are applied may face a higher risk of exposure. Kids are more vulnerable to harmful contaminants, because their bodies are still growing, and toxic chemicals are especially harmful to developing organs and tissues. Where are pesticides applied? We’re concerned about potential harm to people who work in or live near crop fields since they are exposed to pesticides used in massive amounts.
Pesticides are applied throughout Stanislaus County. But spraying on fields near schools is especially concerning since children who live near and attend the schools could be exposed. In Stanislaus County, pesticides are applied near 123 schools. Of those, 110 are located in areas where the use of restricted pesticides has been reported. At least 19 schools are in areas where the largest amount of restricted active ingredients are used. Fourteen of those 19 are elementary schools or other child development centers, attended by young kids, who are especially vulnerable. Telone is used near 17 schools in the county.
When are pesticides applied?
Restricted pesticides are applied year-round in Stanislaus County, with the heaviest use reported in March, April, and November. 1,3-Dichloropropene use follows the same pattern, except in December when its use is not allowed.
The 10 most used pesticides in Stanislaus County in 2021
Below are the 10 pesticides used most frequently throughout Stanislaus County in 2021. The table includes the active ingredient—the chemical that controls pests—in each pesticide, how many pounds were applied, which crop they’re primarily used on, and the risk to human health. Some of the active ingredients are listed under Proposition 65, the California law requiring companies to announce when they use chemicals that can cause cancer and other harm.
19 Schools surrounded by high pesticide use:
We are asking the Stanislaus Agriculture Commissioner to take immediate action to better protect our children, farm workers and neighbors from exposure to high pesticide use in the following ways:
1: Expand the school buffer zones to 5 mi. radius. (Currently, the law enforces a 1/4 mi protection buffer zone)
2: Require farmers to get school principals to sign off on NOI near their schools, to ensure children are not on campus at the actual application time.
3: Reduce the use of Telone applications across the county.
4: Expand the current Pesticide Notification Pilot program to the entire county and web post all Notices of Intent for all restricted material, that includes time, date, and location.
5: Include protections for farm workers that work near fumigant applications