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Indybay Feature
Tue Dec 20 2016 (Updated 12/21/16)
Tulare County Has Most Agricultural Pesticide Illnesses in California
Santa Cruz County Ranked Second for Agricultural Pesticide Illnesses in 2014
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) released a report last week detailing the 2014 results of their Pesticide Illness Surveillance Program. The report, documenting all reported pesticide-related illnesses from all California counties, shows 20.1% of agricultural pesticide-related illnesses occurred in Tulare County, making it the county with the most agricultural pesticide illnesses in the state. Of the 53 counties with documented pesticide-related illnesses in 2014, Tulare County in the Central Valley accounted for over 1 in every 5 cases of poisonings from agricultural pesticides.

In Tulare County, DPR investigated a total of 78 agricultural-related pesticide poisonings, a starkly high number compared to other agricultural counties. Their report also notes the type of exposure associated with each investigated illness, with drift accounting for over 70% of all pesticide-related illnesses in Tulare County.

Santa Cruz County has the second most agricultural pesticide illnesses in the state at 17.2%. “It is concerning to us that a relatively small county has such a large proportion of illnesses related to agricultural pesticides,” says Lucia Calderon, organizer of the coalition Safe Ag Safe Schools. “Especially in a place where treated fields are so close to schools and neighborhoods, it is crucial that the DPR takes action to truly reduce the incidence of pesticide drift and subsequent poisonings.”

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