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Pesticide investigations report issued

A total of 157 pesticide complaints were investigated by the Washington Department of Agriculture in the past fiscal year with more than half resulting in enforcement action.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The state Department of Agriculture investigated 157 complaints of alleged violations of the state’s pesticide laws in the fiscal year of July 2012 through June 2013.

More than half, 98, resulted in some type of enforcement action with 26 resulting in civil penalties. Fines ranged from a few hundred dollars to $3,500 for a case involving human exposure, according to the department’s annual pesticide investigations report.

Whether the number of complaints and enforcement action is up or down isn’t readily available because tracking was switched from a calendar to fiscal year, said Hector Castro, department spokesman. Complaints were evenly distributed between Eastern and Western Washington.

About 80 percent of the cases resulted in no health symptoms or environmental damage, 16 percent had minor short-term health effects or minor environmental damage and less than 7 percent had more serious health or environmental effects, the report states.

Of the complaints, 64 were for commercial and industrial use, 42 (approximately 25 percent) involved agricultural applications, 72 involved drift with half involving possible human exposure.

More information: www.agr.wa.gov.

— Dan Wheat



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