Concerned residents from Maui and Kaua’i are set to testify in support of a pesticide regulation bill at the State Capitol requiring companies to alert the public before chemicals are spayed.
If approved, the measure would also establish a pilot program creating pesticide buffer zones around five schools near commercial agriculture land.
Proponents of the bill claim pesticide application made students sick, with some requiring hospital treatment.
The State Department of Agriculture strongly opposes it, stating pesticides used are fully vetted and approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and consistently alerting the public about application would require the hiring of additional staff which would burn through state funds.
“There were times when teachers have to close the doors and the windows because of the smell because crop dusters would come nearby and so this is been an ongoing issue for years,” Tiare Lawrence, Maui resident concerned about pesticide use exposed to pesticide drift at Pa’ia Elementary said.
The Senate committees on Agriculture and Environment and Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health are expected to make a decision Wednesday.