In recent years, residents have expressed growing concern about potentially adverse effects of pesticides. During the 2015 legislative Session, several bills relating to pesticide oversight, buffer zones and public disclosure were considered. On one side of the debate is a fear that great harm is occurring; on the other side, it is said that the current regulations are adequate.
To help inform residents and to allow them the opportunity to ask questions about health and environmental concerns relating to pesticides, we invited top state officials to participate in a series of Town Hall Meetings in October 2015. A summary of these meeting is available here. The first Waialua Elementary Town Hall meeting was recorded by Olelo and can be viewed here.
Click the image to watch Ben Gutierrez's story on the pesticide town hall meetings.
WHAT IS A PESTICIDE?
A pesticide is a chemical intended to kill or repel a pest such as unwanted insects, weeds, rats, germs, and fungus. While we think of them as highly- toxic substances used in agriculture, there are many pesticides used everyday in our households. Many of the chlorine bleaches and pine-oil products used in our laundry and bathrooms are pesticides. All pesticide products should be handled with care.
HOW DO I USE PESTICIDES SAFELY?
FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS. They were written to protect you and the environment. Furthermore, they are the law!!! Failure to follow these directions may lead to civil penalties of up to $5,000.00 per offense or criminal penalties of up to $25,000.00 or 1 year in prison or both. The site or crop must appear on the pesticide label before you can use it there. You must follow all other instructions including mixing, dosage, precautions and safety equipment.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT PESTICIDES
INTERGREATED PEST MANAGEMENT (IMP)
The DOE Office of School Facilities and Support Services is working very closely with the Department of Ag, Pesticides Branch (DOA), to implement Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in our schools.
Gilburt Chun, from the Dept. of Education stated: “Although we have not received any additional resources to implement this program, we have asked schools to use IPM for a number of years now. Beginning this year, we have provided training to the Administrative Services Assistants (ASA) on Oahu and Maui and have scheduled training sessions for Kauai and Hawaii Island. In addition, particularly on Oahu, as we receive work orders schools asking for assistance with pest control (usually indoors), we have
sent out someone from my office to investigate the problem, and provide schools with suggestions on how to remediate the pests using IPM. We have also provided baits and traps, advising schools to refrain from spraying insecticides indiscriminately.”
Mr. Chun went on to say “Shortly, we will have developed a pesticide price list for schools to use. The pesticides listed (including traps and baits), will have been reviewed by both the DOE and DOA Pesticides Branch to make sure their use on school campuses is authorized. Our efforts to implement IPM has concentrated on the facilities. We have not developed any training for schools yet on IPM in gardens or Ag fields, due to the limited resources of our office. The exception to this is on the school playgrounds where schools have reported fire ant infestations. We will assist schools with recommendations and provide ant bait which has been authorized for use on school grounds. If questions arise regarding pesticide and herbicide use on school campuses for other matters, we consult with the DOA.”
STATEWIDE PESTICIDE SURVEY
In response to growing community concerns about possible offsite impacts of currently used pesticides on local communities and ecosystems, Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) and the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) used agency special funds to design and implement a pilot study to sample surface waters and sediments state wide. The agencies enlisted the help of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to provide state of the art analytical services and expert technical assistance. To extend the reach of our project, USGS provided additional matching funds from their Cooperative Water Program. Read More
Department of Agriculture
Oahu Enforcement Section
Department of Health
Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response Office
Dr. Barbara Brooks
Human Health toxicologist