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U.S. Congressman introduces Farmworker Pesticide Safety Actqrcode

Apr. 8, 2021

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Apr. 8, 2021

Congressman John Garamendi introduced a bill last week that would significantly increase funding for pesticide safety and farmworker outreach programs.

If approved, the bill — Farmworker Pesticide Safety Act — would effectively triple funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s worker protection, public-private partnership, and pesticide safety education grant programs — the University of California, Davis Extension is the single largest recipient of the federal grant money in the nation.

The bill was introduced on Wednesday in commemoration of Cesar Chavez Day, according to a press release.

“On average, my bill would provide $4.15 million annually in additional federal funding to UC Davis Extension’s outreach and support services regarding pesticide safety for farmworkers and their families. This new federal funding would come at no cost to taxpayers, complementing the very substantial investments California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation is already making to ensure that farmworkers and their young children are not exposed to dangerous pesticide levels,” Garamendi said in a press release.

UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education is the national coordinator for the EPA’s Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative and Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative-Medical, managing cooperative agreements with the federal agency for pesticide education for farmworkers, pesticide handlers, and medical professionals.

“We work daily to prevent, recognize, and mitigate pesticide exposures, and the need is greater than ever,” said Susan Catron, dean of UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education, in a press release.

According to the EPA, the agency collected an average of $4.15 million annually for pesticide regulatory violations over the past five years. Under current federal law, the fines and penalties collected from lawbreakers in the pesticide industry revert to the U.S. Treasury. Garamendi’s bill would instead direct those fines toward the EPA’s three major pesticide safety grant programs.

The bill awaits action by the House Committee on Agriculture.

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