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This website provides resources on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) such as pesticides, dioxins, PCBs, and wastes. Valuable examples of community monitoring of health and environmental impacts of toxic chemicals are also furnished.

Further, there is an entire section devoted to chemical safety in its proper socio-political context or in relation to issues such as globalization and people's empowerment.


State Analysis Finds Continued Upsurge in Pesticide Usage

by Fred Alvarez, Los Angeles Times

Pesticide use rose slightly in California during 2003 for the second straight year, an upsurge attributed primarily to farmland battles against disease brought on by wet, cool weather.

In an analysis scheduled for release today, the state Department of Pesticide Regulation reported a 4% jump in chemical usage in 2003 compared with the previous year. Growers and others applied 175 million pounds of pesticides in 2003, a 7-million pound increase over 2002.

As in previous years, the most intense applications occurred in the San Joaquin Valley, with four counties in that region reporting the highest use statewide.

Fresno County was the state's top user at 27.2 million pounds. Imperial and Ventura counties reported the highest usage in Southern California, at 6.8 million pounds and 6.6 million pounds, respectively.

Overall usage was the highest it has been since 2000, when 188 million pounds of pesticides were applied.

While year-to-year variations are normal, Mary-Ann Warmerdam, the newly appointed director of the pesticide regulation department, said she intends to launch an initiative to look for ways to reduce pesticide risks and use.

"Maintaining the status quo just isn't good enough," said Warmerdam, adding that she wants to particularly encourage use of strategies that discourage chemical applications in favor of biological controls and other eco-friendly methods.

Although overall usage ticked up only slightly, environmental activists and farmworker advocates expressed concern about increasing reliance on pesticides believed to cause birth defects and cancer.

According to the state analysis, the use of chemicals classified as reproductive toxins increased 2%, or 480,000 pounds, from 2002 to 2003. Applications of suspected carcinogens increased 1.9 million pounds, or 7%.

"We in California should be pushing to get money into the state to help farmers transition away from these toxic chemicals," said Susan Kegley, senior scientist at the San Francisco-based Pesticide Action Network.

"It would be good for growers, good for the environment and good for public health."

©heal toxics, 2003
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