Reaction to a draft report on pesticides, used in Hawaii was mixed after the report called for heavier regulation of pesticides in the state. The report, “Pesticide Use by Large Agribusinesses on Kauai” by the Joint Fact Finding Study Group, was released March 10 and it recommends regulators increase pesticide regulations with new standards for chronic, low-level exposure to pesticides.
The director of the state Department of Agriculture was not pleased with the findings and pointed out that the report showed that there was no significant evidence that pesticides had harmed the environment or residents. Seed companies agreed but claimed there was a lack of data that hindered the analysis.
On one hand, the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association and other agribusinesses pointed out that the report showed that agribusinesses are not harming the environment or the public, but anti-pesticide and anti-GMO groups called for more transparency on the use of pesticides in the state and in Kauai County specifically.
In 2013, Kauai County passed a pesticide-use disclosure measure, which the seed industry fought vigorously with a lawsuit. A federal judge overturned the law, and the state and Kauai County commissioned the $175,000 study to allay the fears of residents about the use of pesticides.
The study recommends implementing regulations that the law aimed to impose. These recommendations include adding buffer zones to areas where a lot of restricted-use pesticides are applied and for seed companies to disclose what restricted-use pesticides they used, how much, and where they were used.
The Joint Fact Finding report was conducted by Peter Adler of the consulting firm Accord3.0 and eight participants including employees of DuPont Pioneer and Dow AgroSciences.
The study is now available for public comment. The draft report is posted at: http://www.accord3.com/pg1000.cfm.
Public comments are being accepted from March 10, 2016, to April 8, 2016, through that website.
The study was funded jointly by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture and the County of Kauai.