September 29, 2016 - 10:05 AM
FRESNO, Calif. - California regulators say they're taking steps to protect schoolchildren in rural communities from pesticides that blow in from nearby farms.
Brian Leahy, head of the state Department of Pesticide Regulation, tells The Associated Press that he plans to ban farmers from spraying airborne pesticides within a quarter-mile of schools and day care facilities.
He says it will be among the nation's strictest pesticide regulations. California is the leading agricultural producer in the U.S.
The rule is expected to be announced Friday but not enforced until late next year.
Farmers say it's unnecessary because there are seldom, if ever, problems. Bruce Blodgett of the San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation says regulators are inventing an issue to solve.
But officials say they've documented 34 cases where students and teachers became sick since 2005.
News from © The Associated Press, 2016