By CATHY BUSSEWITZ
HONOLULU (AP) - Concerned parents are calling on Hawaii lawmakers to establish buffer zones around schools to protect their children from chemicals found in pesticides.
But the large agriculture companies that spray pesticides say their practices are safe. And some smaller farmers worry that buffer zones could cut into their food production.
About 400 people submitted testimony on a bill heard by two House committees Tuesday. The bill would create a pilot program that would establish vegetative buffer zones around selected schools. The bill supporters are targeting restricted use pesticides used by large-scale, commercial agriculture companies.
Similar proposals have been introduced in the state Senate.
The House Committees on Agriculture and Energy and Environmental Protection are planning to make a decision on the bill next Tuesday.