Voices of the Northwest

Pesticide Right To Know Law

Coalition Applauds New Review Of Pesticide Tracking In Oregon

Use of most toxic pesticides on the rise in California

a scanned reproduction in two parts of Norman Rockwell's "The Right To Know" 1968, at the the Bernard Danenberg Galleries, N.Y., from the book Norman Rockwell, Artist and Illustrator published by Abrams, Special Time Life Edition, 1970

By Neva Hassanein
of the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP)

The Oregon Pesticide Education Network (OPEN) applauded the "analytical review" recently releasedby the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA). The review was mandated by a 1999 law creating a pesticide tracking system in Oregon, our version of the "Right To Know " laws generated by citizen action groups.

The Oregon review coincides with publication of a new report, Hooked on Poison: Pesticide Use in California, 1991-1998, co-released by OPEN. According to the report, use of cancer-causing pesticides in California has more than doubled in the past 8 years, up 127% between 1991 and 1998.

"Use of the most toxic pesticides, including carcinogens, is alarmingly high in California. Is Oregon as hooked on pesticides as our neighbor to the south?" asked Kelly Scannell of OSPIRG. "Nobody knows, but stay tuned.When Oregon's new program is up and running, we'll begin to have some answers."

The Oregon Department of Agriculture will begin collecting pesticide use data statewide in 2002. In developing the details of the program, ODA enlisted the services of Oregon State University and Oregon Health Sciences University to research and analyze some key issues.

OPEN called upon ODA to implement the scientists' recommendations for a pesticide tracking system that will be useful for better understanding how pesticides affect human health, water quality, and wild salmon.

The scientists support what we've been saying all along about the need for accurate data on pesticide use in Oregon.. The analytical review shows that Oregon needs reliable and detailed information on pesticide use in order to protect people and the environment . But it will be up to ODA to decide whether these needs are going to be met.

The researchers recommend that the information be collected at a specific and detailed level. Currently available estimates of pesticide use, the authors note, "do not provide the level of detail and accuracy required by government agencies, researchers, and the public to make informed decisions regarding pesticide use."

"We need to design the database in way that will be useful and that will give all Oregonians confidence in the quality of the information," said Laura Weiss of the Oregon Environmental Council. "The researchers did a good job of explaining how that can be done."

The researchers reviewed options for tracking pesticide use by businesses, government agencies, and households, and analyzed how specific data points would be used for different purposes. The review also looks at data quality control and the benefits of electronic data submission by pesticide users. The analytical review also describes how other states have implemented similar programs, most notably, California which adopted full use reporting
in 1990.

A new report co-released by OPEN found that overall reported pesticide use in California rose by 40% between 1991 and 1998. A total of 1.5 billion pounds of pesticides were used in California during that same period.

The California report by the Pesticide Action Network analyzes pesticide use data collected by the state of California. The report also found that approximately one-third of the pesticides used in 1998 are known to be particularly toxic to humans. These pesticides are classified as acute poisons, carcinogens, neurotoxins, reproductive, or developmental toxins, or are known to have contaminated groundwater in California.

Consider becoming involved in the citizens' efforts to monitor and truly regulate these powerful and toxic chemicals that permeate our daily life.

Oregon's Pesticide Use Reporting System: Analytical Review is available at
For more information contact Peggy Vogue at Oregon Department of Agriculture, 503-986-4647.

Hooked on Poison: Pesticide Use in California, 1991-1998 is available at:

Northwest Coalition For The Alternatives To Pesticides
Neva Hassanein, Phd.
P.O. Box 1393
Eugene, OR 97440-1393
ph. (541) 344-5044, ext. 27
fax. (541) 344-6923
For more information about NCAP, visit:

© Spencer Creek Press, West By Northwest 2000-2002 All Rights Reserved unless otherwise noted.

The opinions expressed by the authors are not necessarily the opinions of the publisher and/or sponsors.



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