Listen: Val Dolcini, Acting Director of Pesticide Regulation at CAL EPA
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation(DPR)has developed a free mobile app designed to help people report pesticide incidents and concerns quickly. The app is compatible with smart phones and tablets.
The app, called CASPIR (California’s System for Pesticide Incident Reporting), is aimed at anyone who might be exposed to pesticides, including farmworkers, restaurant workers, custodians and residents who want to report incidents. CASPIR was developed with funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the input and assistance of local county agricultural commissioners and environmental groups.
“Pesticide problems can happen all over the state,” said Val Dolcini, DPR acting director. “Thankfully, most are small, but all are serious. This new phone app will help farmers, farmworkers, restaurant workers, and others report pesticide incidents 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Available in both English and Spanish, this tool will helpallCalifornians. I encourage people to download this app today.”
Users of the app can fill in details about the incident. Photos and videos can be uploaded to assist the inquiry. The app can also help pinpoint the user’s location via a GPS system. Users can provide their contact information or choose to remain anonymous. The user also receives a confirmation report and a case number.See the video here.
DPR receives about 300 pesticide complaints annually. The department anticipates this mobile app will improve processing, tracking, and timeliness of initiating pesticide investigations. Information submitted by users will be treated as confidential and sent to DPR’s enforcement staff and the relevant local county agricultural commissioner.
California Agricultural Commissioners and Sealers AssociationPresident Tim Pelican said, "CASPIR reduces the need for answering machines and voicemail. It is a good tool that can help County Agricultural Commissioners quickly respond."
The Central California Environmental Justice Network(CCEJN)is an environmental justice organization working with farmworkers throughout the San Joaquin Valley. "We have seen that farmworkers, who are trying to report a pesticide incident at work, sometimes have difficulty describing the exact location of the fields” said Nayamin Martinez, CCEJN's Director. “We are glad that CASPIR can help address this issue with its GPS system.”
In California, there are different ways to report pesticide incidents. These include contacting a local county agricultural commissioner, DPR or California EPA by email or phone. People may also call the poison control system at 1-800-222-1222. However since most people have cellphones, CASPIR means that people report incidents more quickly, securely and with greater detail. In a pesticide emergency, please dial 9-1-1.
The free app is available on the department’s website,www.cdpr.ca.gov, and can be downloaded from Google Play and the Apple iTunes store.
Additional pesticide facts
·In California, all physicians are required to report any suspected case of pesticide-related illness or injury to the local health officer within 24 hours of examining the patient. These health officers must inform the local county agricultural commissioner.
·In 2018, there were more than989,000 agricultural workers in California, according to theCalifornia Employment Development Department.
·Approximately 66 percent of pesticide-related illnesses in California, investigated by thecounty agricultural commissioner,occur in non-agricultural settings such as homes, factories, restaurants and swimming pools.