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HR-23 (2009-2010)

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HR23:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  March 10, 2010

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2009–2010 REGULAR SESSION

House Resolution No. 23


Introduced  by  Assembly Member Monning

February 08, 2010


Relative to pesticides.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


HR 23, as amended, Monning.

WHEREAS, Over 160 million pounds of pesticides are used annually in California, according to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. This figure includes production agriculture and professional pesticide use. It does not include significant amounts of residential, institutional, and industrial pesticide use; and
WHEREAS, Pesticides are ubiquitous in California’s water and air. A recent study by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation of stormwater in Sacramento County, the Bay Area, Orange County, and San Diego County found certain pesticides in over one-half of the streams sampled. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation’s summary of testing of California wells found pesticides in over 20 percent of the wells tested since 1985. The California State Air Resources Board has found pesticides in over one-third of the ambient air samples analyzed; and
WHEREAS, Federal law divides pesticide ingredients into two categories, “active” and “inert”; and
WHEREAS, Despite their name, inert ingredients in pesticides are not benign or inactive. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, an inert ingredient “may have biological activity of its own, it may be toxic to humans, and it may be chemically active”; and
WHEREAS, Inert ingredients typically make up a significant proportion of a pesticide product. Home use pesticide products are commonly almost 90 percent inert ingredients and agricultural use pesticide products are commonly over 50 percent inert ingredients; and
WHEREAS, Neither California law nor federal law requires that most inert ingredients be identified on pesticide product labels. Pesticide manufacturers often claim that the identity of inert ingredients is confidential; and
WHEREAS, Several thousand substances are used as inert ingredients in pesticides. The human and ecological toxicity of these substances varies widely. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that about 50 percent of the substances pose at least a moderate risk; and
WHEREAS, Both the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation evaluate the safety of pesticides before they are marketed in California. However, most of the health and safety testing on which this evaluation is based does not include the inert ingredients; and
WHEREAS, Health professionals treating patients with pesticide-related illnesses have found that it is difficult and time consuming to obtain information about the inert ingredients in the pesticides to which their patients have been exposed. Since 1994, the American Medical Association has been on record as supporting “all efforts to list both active and inert ingredients on pesticide container labels and material safety data sheets”; and
WHEREAS, In 2007, the California Department of Food and Agriculture began an eradication program for the light brown apple moth that involved widespread aerial applications of pesticides in densely populated areas. Many residents of treatment areas strongly opposed the program and, according to the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, “public concern has centered on the previously undisclosed inert ingredients”; and
WHEREAS, On October 20, 2007, the California Department of Food and Agriculture made public a complete list of ingredients in the product that was planned for use in the light brown apple moth eradication program. The department also stated that “the Governor supports the public’s right to know every ingredient in the product”; and
WHEREAS, Lack of information about inert ingredients in products proposed for use to eradicate the light brown apple moth continues to be a problem. In the draft environmental impact report for the light brown apple moth program completed by the California Department of Food and Agriculture in July 2009, the department states, “Ideally, in environments where a variety of pesticides may be used, the potential for chemical interactions of inert and active ingredients should be understood to minimize risks. Since the identity and/or concentrations, or both the identity and concentrations, of the inert ingredients in each formulation are usually proprietary, and the [Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act] does not require disclosure of these concentrations, it was not possible to estimate concentrations or evaluate health risks of most inert ingredients in the formulations considered for use”; and
WHEREAS, On December 22, 2009, the United States Environmental Protection Agency announced in a news release that the “EPA Seeks to Disclose Pesticide Inert Ingredients.” The agency asked for public comment on options for disclosing inert ingredients in pesticides and stated, “Revealing inert ingredients will help consumers make informed decisions and will better protect public health and the environment”; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California,That the Assembly urges the Governor and the Attorney General to request the United States Environmental Protection Agency to act expeditiously to protect public health and the environment by requiring the disclosure of the identity of inert ingredients on pesticide product labels; and be it further
Resolved,That the Assembly urges the Governor and the Attorney General to request the United States Environmental Protection Agency to require the identification of hazardous inert ingredients as quickly as possible and begin the process of requiring disclosure of all inert ingredients, absent a finding that disclosure of a particular ingredient will cause competitive harm; and be it further
Resolved,That the Assembly urges the Governor’s and the Attorney General’s continued support of the public’s right to know every ingredient in pesticide products; and be it further
Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.