HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new study on Kauai agribusinesses says there should be more regulations on the use of pesticides. But seed companies are pointing to the same report to make their case against new rules.
The report was more than a year in the making and originally cost $100,000 when it was commissioned by the state Department of Agriculture and Kauai County, which split the cost.
State Sen. Josh Green (D-Kona, Kau) has tried for five years to create buffer zones for large-scale pesticide use. He contends that pressure from chemical companies has helped to kill legislation that would have done that.
"A lot of it has been that they wanted evidence. Well, here it is," said Green, referring to the report. "So I defy the chemical companies to once again try to browbeat us and kill bills when we have evidence."
One part of the report's recommendations says, "Considering the clear legal warnings on pesticide labels, the Study Group finds important indications that signal Hawaii's political, regulatory, and community leaders need to be far more attentive to pesticide issues."
"No child should be exposed to chemicals that can delay their development, cause neural and cognitive problems, or, god forbid, some of these birth defects," said Green.
The seed industry, however, pointed to other parts of the report.
"Let me quote, let me give you the actual quote from that," said Bennette Misalucha, executive director of the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association. She then read from the report, "The information we assembled does not show that current pesticide use from seed companies and Kauai Coffee plays a rule in adverse health on Kauai."
Misalucha said the industry is already responsible in its use of pesticides, and that no new regulations are necessary.
"We contribute to the economy, we employ good people," she said. "And our people are your neighbors. Your friends. Your soccer coaches. We care about the community."
Bills to create buffer zones are already dead in this year's legislative sessions. Meanwhile the study group is taking comments and corrections on the report until April 8.