Local News

Crop-Dusters Want State Pesticide Board To Relax Rules

Posted November 13, 2002

— People who operate crop-dusters in North Carolina say they violate the law every time they leave the ground. State regulations require them not to leave any pesticide residue behind -- a standard they say is impossible to meet.

"We cannot give the farmer a good application and do the work we should be doing and leave behind zero with today's standards," crop-duster James Fletcher said.

The state pesticide board talked about relaxing the rules at a public hearing. The change would allow six parts per million to be left behind. Opponents say even small amounts can cause serious illnesses like asthma.

"To the point, it's considered an epidemic. The rate of cancer has increased tremendously," said Marie De Jong, who opposes the change.

Opponents say the push to relax the rules is coming from the people who apply pesticide - the very people the board is supposed to regulate.

"It's important for the public to know this is a for-profit industry," De Jong said.

Any changes the pesticide board allows would still comply with federal environmental regulations.

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