House kills controversial pesticide buffer zone bill

House kills controversial pesticide buffer zone bill
Updated: Feb. 19, 2015 at 5:34 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - "My son is not a lab rat. I don't want years from now him to be sick." Kayla Nakasone said.

She believes her three-year old son,Laakea, and other Kauai kids are sick from inhaling pesticides sprayed by large seed companies. "Nebulizers are being handed out like candy to children. Almost all my friends have a nebulizer, doctor issued at their home. Why? Why is that?" Nakasone said.

The House Agriculture Committee took its turn questioning whether disclosure requirements and buffer zones should be placed on large pesticide users Dow, BASF, Syngenta, Monsanto and Pioneer. Hawaii Crop Improvement Association president Kirby Kester said science doesn't support it.

"We don't see pesticide exposure issues in our employees. You would think that we would see it there first before it would start reaching out into the broader community," he said.

"A lot of the chemicals that they said were safe 15 years ago, they're saying, 'Oh, maybe there's endocrine hormonal impacts we never knew existed,'" said Fern Rosenstiel of Ohana O Kauai The Department of Agriculture assured lawmakers that it's monitoring the situation.

"Part of that group will have an epidemiologist who will look at the potential health effects that the community is calling attention to," department director Scott Enright said.

Many of the testifiers flew in from Kauai and other neighbor islands to plead their case.

"How big of a giant would you go up against if it's your kids, if it's your health, if it's your grandparents, your aina? This is huge and we're willing to fight it," Kauai resident Tita Kuhaulua said.

"We strongly believe that the way we're using them, no, we are not making people sick," Kester said.

Without a vote, the committee killed House Bill 1514.

"In the past we have deferred bills with the consideration that there's other vehicles moving through," Kauai Rep. Derek Kawakami said.

The companion measure, Senate Bill 793, has cleared three committees.

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