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Legislation allowing for the continued use of the farm pesticide methyl bromide passed its first committee test Wednesday in the state Senate, despite critics who attacked the state for faulty testing of the chemical. Two Democrats joined three Republicans on the Senate Health and Human Services Committee to approve a bill that would keep methyl bromide on the market at least until the end of 1997. A similar bill was approved by the Assembly last week.
Just across the street from Ohlone School in Watsonville lies a strawberry field, lush with productive plants. Before planting each year, farmers sterilize the field's soil with methyl bromide--a powerful pesticide that kills worms and diseases harmful to the berries' fragile roots. Teri Ketchie, who teaches at the elementary school, watches the pesticide applications with alarm. She knows methyl bromide is a human poison and fears the health of her second-graders may be at risk.
May 16, 2003 | From Times Wire Reports
A Hollister pesticide company has agreed to pay a $15,000 fine and spend a year on probation for violating state laws while using methyl bromide on a Healdsburg vineyard. The Sonoma County district attorney's office said it reached the settlement with Trical Inc. after an eight-month investigation into charges that the pesticide drifted into another vineyard and made people sick.
August 15, 2007 | From the Associated Press
A worker from Honduras testified in a Los Angeles courtroom Tuesday that he and his wife tried for a decade to have children but failed to conceive after he went to work on a banana plantation where the pesticide DBCP was used. "As a man I'm worthless," Benancio Lizandro Espinoza said with the aid of a translator when asked how he felt when he found out he was sterile. Espinoza is one of a dozen banana farm workers who are suing Dole Fresh Fruit Co. and Standard Fruit Co.
March 2, 1996 | From a Times staff writer
Urging worldwide efforts to protect people from pesticides, a Washington, D.C.-based environmental research group Friday warned that agricultural chemicals used around the world are capable of damaging immune systems and increasing rates of infectious disease and cancer. The World Resources Institute said scientific studies by a variety of experts show that many children and adults exposed to pesticides have altered immune systems. The institute called for the U.N.
October 4, 1988 | United Press International
Federal tests detect only about half the pesticides that may contaminate fruits, vegetables and other food, and regulators are relatively unconcerned, a congressional report said Monday. The Office of Technology Assessment, the bipartisan research arm of Congress, found the multi-residue methods the Food and Drug Administration uses for most screening can detect only 163 of 316 pesticides registered with the Environmental Protection Agency.
December 4, 2004 | From Times Wire Reports
A Sacramento Superior Court judge ruled that three irrigation districts can't put pesticides into their canals without analyzing the effect they would have on the environment. Environmental groups had sued the South San Joaquin, Turlock and Merced irrigation districts, charging that they applied pesticides in a way that could harm plants, fish, wildlife and groundwater. The judge asked the districts to find less harmful alternatives and to seek public comment before applying the chemicals.
October 13, 1988 | From the Washington Post
The Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday ended a 30-year ban on cancer-causing pesticides that increase in concentration when treated fruits and vegetables are processed into soups, baby foods, sauces, juices and condiments. Under a new policy, the EPA will license such pesticides for use on raw produce and in processed foods if they pose no more than a "negligible risk" of cancer, that is, increase chances of the disease by no more than one in a million.
December 20, 1989 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Pesticides in runoff farm water may be a key factor in the sharp decline of striped bass in the Sacramento River, state scientists reported. Staff of the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board said in a report circulated among government agencies that they have detected levels of pesticides that are lethal or toxic to tiny animals in the striped bass food chain. The pesticides are carbofuran, ethyl parathion and malathion.
January 13, 2000 | MELINDA FULMER
Premium wine maker Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates said Wednesday it is banning the use of several potent pesticides in its worldwide farming operations, including the 11,000 acres it farms in California. The Santa Rosa-based winery told a Sonoma County grape growers group that it will no longer use methyl bromide, the world's most popular fumigant, to treat new plantings for nematodes and oak root fungus. It also has banned Omite, which is used to control pests, and two popular herbicides.
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