Judge puts limits on application of pesticide near Monterey schools

The Associated Press
Monday September 03, 2001

MONTEREY – A Monterey County Superior Court judge has ordered strawberry growers near two schools to limit the amount of the pesticide methyl bromide that they apply to their fields near two schools. 

Agricultural officials complained that the ruling, which affects Pajaro Middle School and La Joya School in Salinas, could drive some growers out of business. 

The ruling was the result of a suit, brought by Sergio Carrillo who lives near the Pajaro school, against the state Department of Pesticide Regulation and the county Agricultural Commissioner’s office. The suit maintains that state and county officials have not protected people living near the schools after air quality tests showed levels of the pesticide that exceeded state guidelines. 

The state’s target threshold is 1 part per billion for children over an eight-week period and 2 parts per billion for adults. In October and November, the state Department of Pesticide Regulation tested the air at six schools in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties. The air around the Pajaro school measured 7.7 parts per billion, and 3.8 parts per billion near La Joya School.