Pesticides are safe as long as they are used correctly and according to directions.
Pesticides are harmful to human health and shouldn’t be sprayed near people.
Some fear pesticides are causing untold damage here.
Others say people don’t understand, don’t have the knowledge and are overreacting to sensational claims about pesticides.
Those are two basic viewpoints when it comes to pesticide use on Kauai. This has been such a contentious issue in the past that it led to marches. While we haven’t had any rallies regarding pesticides lately, it remains a dividing issue for many.
That’s why it’s good that two house committees heard the Kauai Joint Fact Finding Group’s update on Monday.
The House Committee on Health and Human Services, chaired by Rep. John M. Mizuno, and the Committee on Agriculture, chaired by Rep. Richard P. Creagan, held an informational briefing Monday to update the status and progress of the JFF Study Group’s recommendations released last year.
The report, completed in May 2016, provided an analysis of environmental and health issues associated with pesticide use on Kauai, and the briefing was to hear how state and county departments had followed up on the group’s recommendations, according to a press release. Lawmakers also want to make sure continued environmental and human health impacts related to pesticides are addressed with fact-based policy and decision making.
Here is what some of those at the meeting had to say:
w “Let’s have a plan that allows proper pesticide use, protects our residents and notifies communities if there is any possible contamination.” — Rep. Dee Morikawa
w “I am concerned with the possibility of birth defects, particularly neurodevelopmental injuries to the fetus from long-term, low-level pesticide exposure, especially related to chlorpyrifos.” — Rep. Creagan.
Creagan’s statement is the one that will get the most attention. The makers and users of pesticides will refute that there is any firm evidence that directly links pesticides to birth defects. Some health officials will argue there most definitely is such evidence.
As Mizuno (Kalihi Valley, Kamehameha Heights, Lower Kalihi) said, pesticide use will continue to be an important issue for Hawaii, and will be discussed during the next legislative session.
“This is a critical health and environmental issue that we need to have consensus and solution building to stay in front of,” Mizuno said.
This issue is not going away. It will remain important for years to come, as it should. Finding a consensus, though, a solution or whatever you want to call it, is not going to happen. Don’t expect a settlement that pleases everyone.