Calif. bill would expand pesticide safety program

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – California’s 700,000 farmworkers may soon receive greater protection under a proposed expansion of the state’s nationally renowned pesticide safety program.

A bill moving through the state Assembly would require laboratories that test for pesticide poisoning to report their data directly to the state. Currently, labs report test results only to patients’ physicians.

Supporters say the measure would allow health officials in the nation’s largest agricultural state to more accurately track pesticide exposure and implement safety precautions.

State records for 2008 show California farmworkers handled more than 5 million pounds of pesticides containing chemicals known to cause infertility, nerve damage and other serious health effects.

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