Pesticide rules imposed

California introduces tight regulations to protect farm workers from chloropicrin

California has issued new regulations intended to protect farmhands and people who live in agricultural areas from chloropicrin, a pesticide used widely on strawberries and tomatoes that becomes airborne in some areas.

The rules recently released by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation are the strictest in the country, exceeding standards imposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to California Healthline. The regulations require farms to limit application of the pesticide to 40 acres in a day; expand buffer zones around fields on which the pesticide has been used by 100 feet; give the state 48 hours of notice before fumigation; and notify surrounding homes and businesses of their plans to spray in English and Spanish.

Between 2002 and 2011, about 800 California residents experienced negative health effects due to chloropicrin gas exposure. Symptoms include eye irritation, coughing fits and headaches.