Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Report looks at pesticide use near schools

From page A4 | June 22, 2014 |

Nineteen Yolo County public schools, including three in Davis, are located near areas where pesticides of public health concern are applied, according to a recent study by the California Environmental Health Tracking Program.

Montgomery and Fairfield elementary schools and Harper Junior High School were among the schools listed by researchers in an April report as being within a quarter-mile of any amount of pesticide use in 2010.

While members of the community might find the new information startling, UC Davis professor Ron Tjeerdema told The Enterprise that the situation might not be as serious as some would think.

Tjeerdema, who chair’s the university’s department of environmental toxicology, said that as long as the pesticides are applied properly, they should not pose a serious threat to people in the surrounding areas.

“If they’re used appropriately and within the guidelines that have been put in place, I wouldn’t be too concerned,” he said.

According to the study, Yolo County requires that growers maintain a buffer between their land and any schools when applying restricted pesticides. Other counties go further, mandating that growers notify schools in advance of any pesticide use, among other stipulations.

The study examined 2,511 public schools in the 15 counties with the highest overall pesticide use in 2010 — including Yolo — and found that the majority of schools (64.2 percent) did not have any pesticides used near them. However, the percentages for individual counties varied widely.

According to the study, Tulare County had the highest percentage (63.4 percent) of schools with any pesticide nearby, followed by Merced (61.2 percent) and Stanislaus (51.4 percent). Yolo County, on the other hand, fared well compared to many of the other counties studied, as only 29.7 percent of its schools had pesticides near their campuses.

But for parents, school staff and other community members, the idea of any school operating in close proximity to pesticides could be troubling. According to researchers, children are particularly vulnerable to pesticides for a number of reasons. Their tendencies to spend more time outdoors and to place foreign objects in their mouths, their body size and their state of ongoing physical and mental development increase their risk of harmful exposure, the researchers said.

As part of the study, pesticides deemed to be of public health concern were broken down into six categories based on their potential effects on human health: carcinogens, reproductive and developmental toxins, cholinesterase inhibitors, fumigants, toxic air contaminants and priority pesticides for assessment and monitoring.

Researchers found that potassium n-methyldithiocarbamate was the most commonly used pesticide in Yolo County in 2010 and listed it under every category except cholinesterase inhibitors. According to the study, 1,661 pounds of the substance were used in the county in 2010.

However, Tjeerdema said that n-methyldithiocarbamate and other pesticides like it tend to have a high selective toxicity, meaning their harmful effects are generally confined to their targets.

“You try to develop pesticides that are selectively toxic,” he explained.

The researchers also said that the actual impact of the pesticides on children in the counties studied remains unknown at this point. The intention of the study was not to examine the health effects of pesticide application near schools, but rather to improve the methodology for the surveillance of agricultural pesticide use, they explained.

The full report can be read at

— Reach Will Bellamy at



  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    Summer jobs aren’t always in the bag

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Davis Arts Center gets a new look, thanks to Brooks

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    More details emerge in Woodland officer shootings

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Report details the face of hunger in Yolo County

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Bob Dunning: Taking on a Specktacular challenge

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    For the record

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Students can practice safe bike routes to junior highs

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    ‘Monsters University’ to be screened in Central Park

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    California regulators approve PG&E rate hike

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    America’s ‘it’ school? Look west, Harvard

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: B3

    School board preps for new academic year

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3

    The big moveout, on ‘Davisville’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Sunder campaign will be at Farmers Market

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Classic car show slated in Woodland

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Public opinion sought about Nishi Gateway

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

    Davis Art Garage honored; bench dedication set

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Woodland historical award winners announced

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8



    Can’t understand this change

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    Delta-friendly water bond is a win for all of California

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Bravo! The road diet works

    By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6

    Support water bond in November

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Relay for Life team says thanks

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6



    Hard hoops schedule features defending national champs at UCD

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Crisp’s big hit helps A’s

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie QB is back to pass … Touchdown, Tina! Tina?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Sacramento scores early to snap skid

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

    Unplayable? Cubs, rain hand Giants a loss

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    UCD roundup: Aggie gymnasts are awesome at academics

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery



    Food that travels well for cooking out

    By Julie Cross | From Page: A5 | Gallery



    Visit Crawfish and Catfish Festival in Woodland

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Artists invited to paint at Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    Goldberg, Milstein to play at Village Homes

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    The voice on the CD comes alive at Music Together concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Crowd funding campaign offers support for Art Theater of Davis

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7





    Railroad museum will host Aberbach memorial

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4



    Comics: Wednesday, August 20, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6