Pesticide notifications are meaningless if you are not able to leave your home to avoid the sprays when sheltering in place.

Industrial timber companies are required to notify households that spraying will commence at some point, but are not required to give 24 hour notice. Even though “notice to spray” often covers a very broad period of time, at least those notices have given at-risk individuals an opportunity to leave their homes or work places to avoid pesticides.

Now at a time of sheltering in place, however, those who have sought spray notifications in the past will not be able to go elsewhere without exposing themselves to potential coronavirus.

A 24-hour notice requirement was part of the proposed memorandum of agreement between timber corporations and environmental organizations. That agreement had to be temporarily put aside when the Oregon Legislature failed to achieve a quorum because Republican lawmakers walked out of the legislature.

North Coast Communities for Watershed Protection, along with the Native Fish Society, are asking the state to impose a spray ban immediately as well as a ban on slash and prescribed burning. Many, perhaps most, people who have died from COVID-19 have had underlying health issues, usually compromised pulmonary function. Adding pesticides to the mix endangers those individuals, regardless of age, and creates risks for otherwise healthy individuals.

Citizens living on the Oregon Coast and in the coast range are concerned that with potential exposure to the novel coronavirus, toxic chemicals in the air from smoke and pesticide spraying puts health at even more risk. In many rural areas, aerial spraying is done near highly vulnerable populations, including near health care facilities, long-term convalescent homes and communities with many people older than 60. NCCWP requests Governor Brown issue an executive order banning all prescribed burning and aerial pesticide spraying. Prescribed burning and aerial pesticide spraying are not essential activities, but merely cheap, quick ways to boost corporate profits. At this critical time, public health should outweigh profit-taking.

Write, email, or call Gov. Kate Brown and ask for an immediate statewide halt to aerial pesticide spraying, and initiate a statewide ban on prescribed burning.

Nancy Webster

Rockaway

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