Environmental Justice

Environmental Justice (EJ) concerns coincide with many pesticide issues throughout the state of California. Low income communities and communities of color suffer the greatest risks and impacts of pesticide use in California.

  • Everyone in California is not affected equally by pesticides: certain communties, especially farmworkers, bear the brunt of greater risk of and greater illness from pesticide exposure.
  • Farmworkers in California – over 700,000 and mainly people of color – live and work on the front lines of a toxic barrage and experience more reported acute pesticide poisoning cases than any other segment of California’s population.
  • Many low income communitites and communities of color across the state experience disproportionate impacts from pesticides through living in routinely-sprayed/fumigated public housing. Often they cannot seek appropriate help following poisonings due to language barriers or lack of health care.

Environmental Justice in Cal EPA

Since 1999, several environmental justice laws have been signed in California that require the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal EPA) — including the Department of Pesticide Regulation — to incorporate EJ principles into all of their work.

The state of California defines Environmental Justice (EJ) as “the fair treatment of people of all races, cultures and incomes with respect to the development, adoption, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws and policies.” For more information about Cal EPA’s EJ implementation efforts, visit the Cal EPA EJ website. Here you will find a link to CalEnviroScreen 4.0, a screening methodology that helps identify California communities that are disproportionately burdened by multiple sources of pollution, including pesticides.

Environmental Justice in the Department of Pesticide Regulation

State law requires California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) to create and implement an environmental justice strategy to be be used by the Department. To view the EJ Implementation Plan or learn more about a pilot air monitoring project in Parlier (Central Valley), please visit DPR’s website.

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