Pesticide Contamination, Exposure on Kauai Worse Around GMO Fields

Editor's Note: Bill 2491 is scheduled for a vote on Friday before a Kauai County Council committee. Read latest Civil Beat story here.

Few issues have roiled up the community in the recent past, as much as pesticide Bill 2491, currently under consideration by the Kauai County Council. The bill has received overwhelming support across broad segments of the population, including by local pediatricians, teachers, cultural practitioners, and other members of the health community.

Bill 2491 was introduced in response to community concerns about the intensive use of pesticides used for the production of genetically modified (GM) seed crops on the Garden Isle.

Prior to its introduction, the text of Bill 2491 was reviewed by environmental, legislative, and legal experts. The vetting process determined that the different aspects of the bill are well within the jurisdiction of the County Council, and that it has considerable precedents, with similar legislation passed by municipalities and counties around the country.

Key items of the bill, directed at agricultural operations that use a relatively large amount of pesticides, include Restricted Pesticide use disclosures; the use of buffer-zones between pesticide applications and sensitive-areas such as schools and hospitals; and it calls for an Environmental Impact Statement as a prerequisite for the further expansion of the GM Seed industry in Kauai.

To understand the extent of dust "escapes" and pesticide drift around experimental GM seed operations it is necessary to understand the unique nature of their operations, as compared to the typical family farm.

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