What toxic pesticides are used near your kid's school?
provided by Environmental Working Group
s the population of California and its agricultural industry continue to expand, more and more children attend schools near farm fields where toxic pesticides are applied heavily. Now concerned parents, teachers and students can use the Internet to find out what pesticides are being used, and where.
A new Web site called @Risk ("at risk") reports county by county and school by school all toxic pesticides used within 1.5 miles of California schools in 1995, the latest year for which data are available. @Risk, a project of the Environmental Working Group, is at www.ewg.org/@risk.
With a few clicks of a mouse, @Risk shows how many pounds of toxic pesticides were applied near any school in California, crops the pesticides were used on, and adverse health effects of exposure to the chemicals. @Risk, based on an analysis of state pesticide use data, can also tell you where a school ranks statewide and in its home county in terms of nearby use of pesticides.
"When we send our kids to school, we assume they'll be in a safe and healthy environment," said Bill Walker, California director of EWG. "Me use of toxic pesticides near schools doesn't necessarily mean students are being exposed, but parents do have a right to know about potential threats to their children's health. We're not trying to single out individual schools as unsafe, but showing how the rising use of pesticides increases the risks for everyone living, working or attending school nearby."
California has the nation's most comprehensive pesticide use reporting law, requiring every commercial pesticide application to be reported to the state. @Risk makes this information available online for the first time and organizes it so that users can easily determine where pesticides are being used. @Risk will soon be expanded to include information about other toxic air pollutants emitted near California schools.
EWG is a nonprofit research organization that uses information technology to inform the public about environmental threats to local communities. EWG's main Web site, which includes databases on issues ranging from toxic waste in fertilizer to political campaign contributions by polluting industries, is at www.ewg.org.
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