Sunday, April 22, 2012

Followup on Does Argentina Have Better Pesticide Protection Than We Do?

Goldman Prize winner Sofia Gatico of Argentina
A few days ago I posted about Goldman Prize winner Sofia Gatica and her fight against Roundup spraying of soybean crops. I asked Paul Towers from Pesticide Action Network to weigh in on the question of whether or not Sofia's efforts meant that Argentina was now protecting its citizens against Roundup than in the U.S..

In an earlier interview with Paul, he said that the Wine Institute in California has been fighting against pesticide buffer zones and aerial spraying bans (successfully, alas, enough to kill legislation).

Here's his response (bolding mine) to the question of whether Argentina now does a better job at protecting against pesticides in light of Sofia's efforts:

"To be clear, Sofia and her mothers group helped pass a buffer (health protection) zone in only one municipality and are working to expand to other municipalities and the entire country. This buffer is larger (~8,200 ft total) than most buffer zones used in agriculture in the United States. Pesticides like Roundup must be applied according to their labels (the "label is the law" -- this is how EPA regulates pesticides), and a quick scan of a couple Roundup variations suggest that most national aerial application buffers are about 100 feet.

In addition, in states that can impose greater protections, there are additional buffers for specific regions or crops. Sutter County, e.g., has 4 mile buffers for prunes (from this short report I co-authored). However, since I don't believe Roundup is a "restricted use" pesticide, meaning that it is considered more hazardous by EPA, it is more difficult for state or local governments to impose any additional restrictions like buffers. 

In short, the comparison isn't exactly apples to apples, but it is fair to say that one Argentina municipality has instituted some of the strongest protections for residents from aerial applications of Roundup."

So, one wonders, why does the Wine Institute tell us they're green and sustainable and yet fight against protections against pesticides that even third world countries have?

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