Thirty-four pesticides and five pesticide breakdown products were monitored, including six fumigants and 11 organophosphates. Twenty-nine of the chemicals were detected in at least one sample and 10 were not detected.  DPR selected these pesticides based on the amount of use and their potential health risks.

“Detecting pesticides in communities surrounded by farmland is not a surprise,” Leahy stressed. “California is the only state that monitors air as part of its continuous reevaluation of pesticides to ensure the protection of workers, public health and the environment.”

Yet again, this latest testing is another clear reminder that California serves as a sterling example for the rest of the nation when it comes to food security, health safety and environmental protections – all compliments of a phalanx of state scientific experts who steadfastly strive to employ proper regulatory practices, and an agricultural industry with similar goals.  Considering that these regulatory agencies and the people who work in them are frequently the targets of criticism from environmental activists, the truth is that California owes them a great amount of appreciation and gratitude.

(For more, see: California clamps down on pesticide applications)

The air monitoring network, the first of its kind in the nation which began with monitoring projects in Parlier in 2006 and Lompoc in 2000, was created to expand DPR’s knowledge of the potential health risks of long-term exposures to pesticides. State law requires DPR to continuously evaluate pesticides after they are in use. As part of this process, DPR – one of five departments and boards within the California Environmental Protection Agency – conducts field studies to monitor exposure to workers and to measure how pesticides move and break down in air, soil and water.  DPR then uses this information to decide if further regulatory measures are necessary.

These latest results showing that human health in Shafter, Salinas, Ripon, Santa Maria and Oxnard is not in danger from high levels of crop protection products, is good news indeed.  It reaffirms industry’s objectives in being good stewards of the environment and protecting California consumers from unsafe practices.  While it temporarily may remove some of the wind from the sails of rabid activist groups, there will always be another “crusade” for them to turn their attention to. For the rest of us, we can take comfort in the fact that agriculture is safe, alive and thriving in the Golden State.