A California study investigates the use of the toxic pesticide methyl bromide near the state's public schools, explains why proposed safety rules have failed to protect children and others from exposure, and examines regions at particular exposure risk. Study results show an increasing exposure to methyl bromide near schools already at risk while statewide use is decreasing. Further revealed are that about one-third of the schools are a half mile or less from methyl bromide application sites, that some areas expose students many times per season to the pesticide, that potential exposure falls disproportionately on children of color, and that the strawberry crop appears to account for over half of all methyl bromide applied near California schools. Recommendations for regulations are presented and include the need for banning methyl bromide applications within 1,000 feet of schools; the development of acceptable exposure level standards tenfold higher for protecting children; notification in writing of potential methyl bromide applications that will occur within 1 mile of schools, facilities, and residences; and the need to increase research funding into finding alternatives for methyl bromide. (Contains 10 references).
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