Lawmakers Concerned About Pesticide Spraying - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Lawmakers Concerned About Pesticide Spraying

Kristen Au Kristen Au
Lisa Delong Lisa Delong

By Beth Hillyer

KAHUKU (KHNL)--Lawmakers in the state senate looked at a bill that would prohibit the spraying of pesticides within a 1,500-foot radius of elementary schools.

Legislators listened to testimony from parents and students about the hazards faced by classrooms near farms and other agricultural properties.

They heard about the most recent case that happened just weeks ago at Waimea Canyon school on Kauai.

Sue Schott, a Waimea Canyon School Teacher said, "While most received symptomatic treatments, one, my daughter was put on an IV and received anti-vomiting medicine. Some received tributeral on a nebulizer to regulate their breathing and a total of 12 students actually came to the ER that day".

The bill would also impose a 72-hour written notice to all schools in the immediate area of ground spraying. And would create a half-mile buffer zone for the aerial spraying of pesticides.

A similar problem happened in Kahuku last year.

Last May first responders flooded Kahuku High & Intermediate school in response to calls that more than a dozen students were sick from a chemical odor.

"I can't really remember what it smelled like other than it was bad and we were confused," said student Kristian Au.

"We had reports there were fumes on campus so we ended up evacuating sections of campus as students were unable to learn with the smell," said Principal Lisa Delong.

Students suffered headaches, sore throats and nausea. The fumes forced the school to close for a week. Many support new laws to prevent pesticide exposure.

"We think it is an important bill and we would encourage them to pass it so we can insure our students have a safe learning environment," said DeLong.

"Nobody got really really sick but on the chance that we could that is not safe we wouldn't want that to happen, " said Au.

Teachers say they never want to cancel school because every minute of learning is so important.

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