In this section of our newsletter, we will share with you brief descriptions of cases and their outcomes.
By: Art Aguirrebarrena, Yuma ESD
Aerial Drift Case.
In June of 2019, ESD Inspector A responded to a call-in complaint alleging drift. Inspector A met with multiple complainants, all of whom claimed to have observed evidence of herbicide damage to trees in and around their area. The investigation revealed the use of herbicides which have volatile chemical properties applied during times of the year when the temperature routinely exceeded the maximum temperatures allowed by the label. The result, the product traveled long distances, thus affecting areas where it was not intended to be applied. Inspector A determined Pest Control Adviser B failed to complete the Form 1080 properly, but all PCA directions were followed by Aerial Applicator C. Analysis of residue samples collected at the various complainants’ residences detected the active ingredients of the herbicides that were applied in some of the sampled locations. As a result of the investigation, Pest Control Adviser B and Aerial Applicator C were found to be responsible of failing to prevent pesticides from coming into contact with non-treated areas and were cited. Both have the right to appeal the decision.
Worker Protection Standard Case.
In December of 2019, an ESD inspector conducted a routine Worker Protection Standard (WPS) inspection of a harvest crew in Yuma. The harvester, a Farm Labor Contractor (FLC) based out of California, claimed it was their first season harvesting in Arizona. The inspector found that none of the agricultural workers had received pesticide safety training from an Arizona certified instructor. He also found other violations regarding required postings including failing to display pesticide safety information and information on the nearest operating emergency medical facility. As well as failing to display or have available the AZDA’s Pesticide Hotline and a list of grower’s central posting locations. The FLC told the inspector they were not aware of Arizona regulations and claimed because he was in compliance with California he thought there would be no problem. The inspector provided a WPS “How to Comply” manual as well as a letter of violation. The grower who hired this FLC will also receive a notice of violation as Arizona laws requires growers and shippers who hire FLC’s to make sure they are in compliance with Arizona laws. This case will be referred to the Office of the Associate Director of the Environmental Services Division for review and final disposition.