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Connolly Strengthens Pesticide Regulations with New Legislation

AB 1864 strengthens the enforcement of legislation protecting school sites from pesticide use

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, Assemblymember Damon Connolly (D-San Rafael) introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 1864, strengthening enforcement regarding the use of pesticides within ¼ mile of a school site. This bill expands the reporting requirements for pesticide use in school zones, requiring thorough documentation with respect to the timing, notification, and method of application of the pesticides.

“Strengthening the enforcement of pesticide regulations in school zones is critical to student health, particularly in our rural school districts,” said Assemblymember Damon Connolly (D-San Rafael). “Children are particularly vulnerable to the health impacts of pesticides, and insufficient enforcement of pesticide regulations disproportionally impacts students of color. Enforcing the restriction of pesticide use within ¼ mile of a school site during school hours will help keep our students safe from the harmful effects of prolonged exposure.”

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation restricts the use of pesticides within ¼ mile of a school site during school hours, but prescribes minimal enforcement and sparse reporting requirements. Without sufficient reporting requirements, the commissioner of a county has no way of reporting whether or not pesticides were used within prescribed time periods or with a lawful method of application. Pesticides are chemical products derived from fossil fuels that are used in agriculture and urban areas to kill pests and diseases. Pesticide exposure poses significant health impacts, and children are particularly vulnerable. Pesticide exposure has been linked to a variety of diseases and illnesses in children, including brain tumors, cancers, autism, birth defects, and respiratory disease. Research using CalEPA data found that pesticides are one of the top two pollutants in California with the greatest racial and ethnic disparities; pesticide health impacts disproportionately affect farmworkers and their families, many of whom are Mexican immigrants. In fact, a 2014 Department of Health study found that Latinx children are 91% more likely than white children to attend a school near high pesticide use.

To enable accurate reporting and enforcement of existing law, AB 1864 requires the commissioner of a county to collect a submitted notice of intent before a pesticide is used within a school zone, and requires the Department of Pesticide Regulation to assign a separate site identification number for any portion of an agricultural field that lies within ¼ mile of a school site. This bill would further require the department to modify and amend permit applications for pesticide use in school zones to include reporting on the specific time and method of application. This bill would require the director to evaluate the county’s effectiveness in enforcing this legislation, and expand the scope of these regulations to include private schools before December 31, 2026.

AB 1864 is currently waiting to be assigned to a policy committee.


Assembymember Connolly represents the entirety of Marin County and Southern Sonoma County