What to do if you have been drifted on
For complete steps on how to recognize and respond to pesticide drift incidents, see CPR's Community Action Guide.
Pesticide drift is illegal. If pesticides drift onto you or your neighbors, you should do the following:
Evacuate the area, warn your neighbors and seek medical attention
Make sure that you and your neighbors leave the area and that anyone who is feeling sick seeks medical attention. If you are sick, leave the area immediately and then try to contact your neighbors by phone. Close all windows and doors in your home. Shower immediately after exposure if possible. If your clothes were directly hit by spray, place them in a sealed container or bag for possible testing. Otherwise, be sure to wash contaminated clothing separately.
If you experience any of the symptoms of pesticide exposure, go to see a doctor immediately. Many doctors are not familiar with symptoms of pesticide poisoning and may think that you have a cold or the flu. Be persistent and tell them that you were exposed to pesticides and these are symptoms of pesticide poisoning. Download this form for your doctor to report your pesticide illness. Remind the doctor that any pesticide illnesses, even suspected pesticide illnesses, must be reported by phone to the County Health Officer within 24 hours (contact information).
Call for help
Once you are in a safe location, notify the appropriate authorities of the incident. If you feel that your life is in danger, call 911. Call the local County Agricultural Commissioner (open 8-5, M-F) and if they are closed, call your local Sheriff non-emergency dispatch.
Report Drift each and every time it happens
Call the County Agricultural Commissioner (CAC) and report the incident (contact information). If drift is occurring but is not directly affecting you, you should still report it to the CAC. Provide as many details as possible, including time and location of incident, environmental conditions (wind, rain, etc.), presence of people or residences in the area. Ask for a formal investigation and pesticide sampling on affected properties. Make sure to leave your contact information with them so that they can get back in touch with you.
Write down all of the details of the exposure before you forget anything (see sample report form for details). Record all details of your communication with agencies, including names of people you speak with, dates and times. Keep all correspondence you have with agencies, as well as any photos or videos you may have. If the CAC office is closed, call the county sheriff non-emergency dispatch who have access to the CAC after hours. If you are uncomfortable calling these agencies, call local community organizations for assistance.
Follow up your initial calls to ensure that the agencies are responding. If they are not, you should consider contacting State level agencies such as the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) at 916-324-4100. Talk to neighbors to see if they experienced illness that may have been related to the drift incident. If they have, encourage them to seek medical attention as well as file a complaint with the CAC. Take photos or videos of drift, powder residue or rashes. If necessary, call the media to report the incident and the response by agencies. Call local community organizations for assistance. Continue to document everything, and keep copies of any correspondence sent or received.
Make sure to include environmental conditions (wind, rain, fog, etc.), presence of residences or people in the area, location of incident, and any other relevant information. Again, you should consider following up with the CAC and others to make sure they are responding.