Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - July 19, 2018 


Efforts continue to quell the backlash over President Donald Trump’s changing statements on the Russia summit. Also on the Thursday rundown: protestors are out for Mike Pence’s visit to Missouri; and nobody wants to go, but one option is green burials.

Daily Newscasts

Report: WA Pesticide Investigations Up

The Washington State Department of Agriculture investigated 123 potential violations of the state's pesticide laws. (Charles O'Rear/United States Department of Agriculture)
The Washington State Department of Agriculture investigated 123 potential violations of the state's pesticide laws. (Charles O'Rear/United States Department of Agriculture)
April 14, 2016

SEATTLE - The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA), investigated 18 percent more potential violations of the state's pesticides laws in the fiscal year of 2015. In a few major cases, people were exposed to pesticide drift. That's according to an annual pesticide report to the legislature released this week.

Joel Kangiser, policy assistant, Pesticide Management Division, Washington State Department of Agriculture, said his department investigates all cases of potential human exposure from pesticide drift, and then turns it over to the state's Department of Health.

Said Kangiser, "We just look at: were people exposed, did the drift occur, and if so, did the Department of Health find that the symptoms they were experiencing likely were from the pesticide?"

If exposure is determined, the WSDA can fine applicators and suspend their license for up to 90 days. The WSDA fined two applicators the maximum penalty of $7,500 last year, although one of those violations is being appealed.

Less than half of the 123 investigations involved cases of human contact with pesticides. However, in at least three cases people were exposed, and showed symptoms such as burning of the eyes, headache and nausea.

Megan Dunn, program director for healthy people and communities for the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides, said in one case, insecticide drifted onto a school, and three staff members became ill.

"They levied the maximum fine for this incident," she said. "But this is also preventable where if we had buffers for schools or zero tolerance for pesticide drift onto schools and daycares, that is a completely preventable accident."

Dunn said farmers could use alternatives to insecticides, such as insect traps and hedgerows, and better notification practices to lower the chances of accidental exposure. The largest exposure last year took place on farmland in Grant County. Sixty-five farmworkers became ill from an insecticide sprayed on an adjacent potato field. The case is currently being appealed.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA