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California high school implements advanced warning system to protect students from pesticide drift
In rural Kern County, California, parents have been striving to protect their children from pesticide exposure for decades, and their efforts finally appear to be paying off.
The Kern High School District has announced that it will implement an advance notification system that will alert schools close to farms to let them know when pesticides will be applied.
More than 1.4 million schoolchildren in California are exposed to pesticide drift. This occurs when dangerous chemicals are applied to crops and then their poisons are carried to nearby areas by the wind. Overexposure to pesticides has been linked to asthma, neurological development issues and even cancer.
Under the system, growers must notify schools ahead of time when pesticide spraying will take place during regular school hours. If any school activities are planned for a particular day before or after school, it will also apply during those hours.
This will give school administrators a heads-up so that they can call parents and inform them of the spraying. It will also give coaches and teachers a chance to change their plans for outdoor activities to avoid exposure to these toxins.
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