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 (As reported in The Sacramento Bee Dec. 8-11, 1991)
 SACRAMENTO, Calif., Dec. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was released today by the Western Agricultural Chemicals Association:
 The series of articles in the Sacramento Bee this week regarding farmworkers in California raises serious issues that should be of concern to everyone involved in agriculture. The agricultural chemicals industry's primary concern is the safe use of our products. We firmly stand behind laws regarding the use of pesticides and urge their active enforcement.
 All pesticide labels describe precautions that must be taken during application and the period of time that must pass before workers are allowed back into the field. Pesticide labels are legal documents and their instructions carry the weight of law.
 These directions for safe handling and use are developed through years of testing. To be registered for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a pesticide must undergo more than 120 separate tests for health and environmental safety including tests for worker exposure. The development, testing and EPA approval process takes eight to 10 years and costs manufacturers between 35 and 50 million dollars for each pesticide product. On the average, only one in 20,000 chemicals considered makes it from the chemist's laboratory to the farmer's field.
 To be used in California, a pesticide must undergo further review from the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) of the California Environmental Protection Agency. This review puts a special emphasis on health and environmental effects before a pesticide product is registered for use in California.
 While The Bee cited a number of serious examples of misuse of pesticides that are troubling, the most up-to-date statistics from the DPR regarding the safe use of pesticides show a sharp improvement in the state as a whole. In a report released this summer, the DPR reports the number of farmworkers reported ill from pesticide exposure in 1989 dropped to 162 cases following five years with an average of 349 cases.
 We must work to get that number as close to zero as humanly possible and the agricultural chemical industry supports training programs for farmers and workers, strict adherence to label precautions and full enforcement of laws regarding the safe use of pesticides.
 -0- 12/11/91
 /CONTACT: Steve Forsberg of Western Agricultural Chemicals Association, 916-446-9222/ CO: Western Agricultural Chemicals Association ST: California IN: CHM SU:

RM -- SF005 -- 1550 12/11/91 15:00 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 11, 1991
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