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Garamendi Introduces Farmworker Pesticide Safety Act on Cesar Chavez Day

March 31, 2021
Press Release
Bill would more than triple funding for UC Davis Extension’s pesticide safety and farmworker outreach programs at no cost to taxpayers or growers

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congressmen John Garamendi (D-CA03) introduced the “Farmworker Pesticide Safety Act” in commemoration of Cesar Chavez Day. This bill would effectively triple funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s worker protection, public-private partnership, and pesticide safety education grant programs. The University of California, Davis Extension is the single largest recipient of this federal grant money in the nation.

Congressman Garamendi’s “Farmworker Pesticide Safety Act” is endorsed by the Association of American Pesticide Control Officials (AAPCO).

“My Farmworker Pesticide Safety Act would support the correct application of pesticides in agriculture and provide farmworkers with resources for the safe handling of pesticides and proper decontamination protocols following their workday. On average, my bill would provide $4.15 million annually in additional federal funding to UC Davis Extension’s outreach and support services regarding pesticide safety for farmworkers and their families. This new federal funding would come at no cost to taxpayers, complementing the very substantial investments California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation is already making to ensure that farmworkers and their young children are not exposed to dangerous pesticide levels,” said Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA).

“UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education is the national coordinator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative and Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative-Medical. They manage cooperative agreements with the USEPA for pesticide education for farmworkers, pesticide handlers, and medical professionals. We work daily to prevent, recognize, and mitigate pesticide exposures, and the need is greater than ever. We deeply appreciate Congressman Garamendi’s support for UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education’s outreach efforts to better educate farmworkers and pesticide handlers on the safe and proper use of pesticides and to educate healthcare providers on the recognition, treatment, and reporting of pesticide-related health conditions,” said Susan Catron, Dean, UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education.

According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), the agency collected an average of $4.15 million annually for pesticide regulatory violations over the past 5 years. Under current federal law, these fines and penalties collected from lawbreakers in the pesticide industry revert to the U.S. treasury. Congressman Garamendi’s “Farmworker Pesticide Safety Act” (H.R.####) would instead direct these fines toward the USEPA’s three major pesticide safety grant programs, effectively tripling available funds as follows, at no additional cost to taxpayers, growers, or the pesticide industry:

Worker Protection Grants:

  •       Current Law: $1M, from FY2013-2020
  •       Garamendi Bill: $3.075M, from FY2021-2023

Public-Private Partnership Grants:

  •       Current Law: $500K, from FY2013-2020
  •       Garamendi Bill: $1.5375M, from FY2013-2020

Pesticide Safety Education Grants:

  •       Current Law: $500K, from FY2013-2020
  •       Garamendi Bill: $1.5375M, from FY2013-2020

The “Farmworker Pesticide Safety Act” (H.R.####) currently awaits action by the House Committee on Agriculture. The full bill text is available here.

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