Currently, there are at least 27 schools in the state of Hawaii within a mile of large-scale agricultural operations known to use high-volumes of restricted used pesticides. The keiki attending these schools every day must face the risk of exposure to these chemicals through pesticide drift.
Children are the most vulnerable to toxic exposure of pesticides because it can disrupt critical development processes. Early life pesticide exposure has been linked to long-term health effects including cancer, serious diseases, decreased cognitive function, and behavior problems.
In response to these threats, HCFS and a broad coalition of supporters introduced bills in the 2016 legislative session that would create no spray buffer zones around schools, hospitals and other sensitive areas, and require entities applying restricted use pesticides to disclose the pesticides they are spraying and notify communities who could be potentially impacted by pesticide drift.
In addition to mandating no spray buffer zones and disclosure, HCFS is introducing a bill that aims to protect our keiki from the impacts of large-scale agricultural pesticide use by establishing a pilot program of native and regenerative vegetative buffer zones around five schools across the State.
The regulations proposed in these bills are in line with those of 31 other states. These states understand that it is vital to provide communities with information about the dangerous chemicals regularly applied in close proximity to where they live, learn, and play, and to restrict application near schools.
Over the past year, this campaign has been a huge success, with unprecedented media coverage and civic engagement serving to clarify the community’s concerns. We are committed to continuing this work until appropriate regulations are in place to protect Hawaii’s keiki.
To track these bills and others from all sides of the debate, visit www.protectourkeiki.org.