Pesticides are the most regulated product in commerce and “with 37.5 million of California’s 38 million people calling themselves environmentalists,” Leahy says DPR and California agriculture face significant challenges.  However, he believes both are up to the tests. DPR continues to monitor air for pesticides, “but we are not finding much. We are doing a really good job of keeping drift down. Use is not the same as exposure, and we are showing that with our monitoring.”

DPR has funded $500,000 in research to find fumigant alternatives for the strawberry industry. It is part of a “five-year roadmap” for new strawberry production techniques.

He strongly supports finding new, effective fumigants to keep strawberries in California and “not lose strawberries” to Mexico.

He identified many more issues facing agriculture, like of pyrethroids in water sediments. However, “by working together we can meet those challenges.”

DPR is a “science based organization” bolstered by 125 PhDs on staff who he pledged will use science in its regulatory role and “not some broad based assumptions.”

He praised the state’s ag industry as being “very professional” and focused on solving problems with increasingly fewer human health problems.

Unfortunately, he did not have the same praise for the urban sector. He pledged to look more closely at consumer and industrial use of pesticides.

Pesticides, he said, are the foundation of keeping the public healthy and eating a safe, healthy and nutritional food supply.

He reminds the “activist community often” of the benefits of pesticides and to look at them from a risk/benefit perspective.

He likes to point out that more people die from malaria caused by mosquitoes than are killed in war, and pesticides are imperative in controlling mosquitoes.