Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pesticide Sensitive Individuals

In 1992, the Washington State legislature passed a law which allows pesticide sensitive individuals to submit information to the department, be placed upon a registry, and be contacted by the applicator prior to a pesticide application to a landscape or right-of-way which is adjacent to their principal place of residence.

Here is the link to the Washington State Department of Agriculture (sorry, I forgot to put it here earlier)

  1. The deadline for completing and filing this application is DECEMBER 1st, 2008.

  2. Your application must include the signature of physcian licensed in the State of Washington.

  3. The names, addresses and phone numbers of your adjacent neighbors will need to be part of the application.

I am in the process of completing this application, even though our "principal place of residence" may, and in reality will change. Our mobile hermitage the VARDOFORTWO stretches the context of the "principal place of residence" coda, and yet I'm here to tell you this law is a step in the positive direction. And I am so thankful to know I can take the steps to be informed before any pesticides are applied.

One of the major reasons for our life as fugitives from a chemically dangerous world is PESTICIDE USE AND MISUSE. One of the last places we attempted to rent on O`ahu was a beautiful two-bedroom cottage in Ka`aawa, on the North Shore. This is difficult to write. It brings up post traumatic memories of the event that led to us fleeing the rental. But, it is one of those memories that fuels my motivation to share and learn from experience.

Three days after moving into the Ka`awa cottage, we woke to see the city road maintenance truck driving up the small rural road that fronts the neighborhood. The wind was blowing at a steady gust, a young man stood on the rear bumper of a spray truck. Without forewarning, the pristine warmth of an early morning sunrise was dumped with Roundup as the tank of liquid was sprayed along the roadside within a foot of our driveway. Survival mode activity kicked in: I sealed all the windows, put on my carbon filter mask. My mind raced through the emergency check-list in my head for the things I knew I must take with me. I had thirty minutes before the Roundup would seep into the louvered windows and make me sick. Further details of this Ka`aawa episodes aren't important, and I admit to write and recall more will make me sick.

We began a life living in the car parked in driveways, front lawns and beach parks after this experience, so completing an application such as this is a major change in the right direction. There was very little response to all my phone calls and letters written to the mayor of Honolulu, council people and legislators. The laws and rights to safety as they relate to the community with Environmental Illnesses and Multiple Chemical Sensitivites are scant. Disability Laws still fall short of including MCS as a consistent and bonifided 'condition' for services and recognition. Making changes to the System while dealing with the physical trauma of a pesticide exposure is difficult at best.

There are organizations and blog sites that identify and track the laws, studies and changes to the way chemicals are manufactured, marketed and applied. I've listed a few links that have served us in the past and links I have recently discovered:

Beyond Pesticides

MCS America

The Canary Report

Chemical Injury Information Network

What is important today is if you're a Washington State resident and are sensitive to pesticides, this registry process is a major tool to have in your corner. It doesn't exist in all states in America and it should be. For now I'm getting on the registry and when VARDOFORTWO moves, I'll let the State of Washington Department of Pesticide Management know where I am.

Many thanks to my friends in the MCS support group here in Seattle for sharing this pesticide registry information with me. You serve such a vital function, and I appreciate all of you very much.

Be well, Mokihana


Anonymous said...

Hawaii is retro when it comes to pesticide protections. The roadside spraying throughout all the islands is a recurring problem for people who are sensitive. The state workers never pay attention to wind and drift.

Yes, you have the registry, but it only requires the company notify you that they will be spraying. It does not require the company to pay attention to the drift. I posted a story on Oct 29 about a couple ranting about drift: even though they were on a state registry and had been called, they still suffered from major drift every time the neighbor had their place sprayed. It must be like being stuck in a living nightmare. There's a vid.

Yes, Beyond Pesticides is the very best online resource.

VardoForTwo said...

Susie, mahalo for the comment. The reality of compliance is scary! The love of a chemical overrides the threat birthright to have safe harbor in your home. Drift is the worse when it comes to pesticide application. I'll go to your site and read your rant. I agree ...
Beyond Pesticides is a major solution.