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Organization helps prevent pesticide drift

Published: Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

In regard to Pat Breeding’s letter on July 30 about pesticide spraying in Illinois, it’s my understanding after talking with the Illinois Department of Agriculture that the farmer/sprayer doesn’t have to tell the owner of a neighboring farm or residence that he intends to spray his fields.

Keep in mind, also, that if you’re sprayed with pesticide, the farmer/sprayer doesn’t have to tell you what he sprayed on you. One lady was sprayed by her neighbor’s spray company. The farmer knew what was sprayed, yet he wouldn’t tell her when she called him. She felt woozy and sick. She went to the nearby hospital, and when the doctor called the spray company it even refused to tell the doctor what was sprayed. Hard to comprehend, but this type of response happens all the time in Illinois.

Spray Drift Education Network is a grassroots organization dedicated to helping Illinois citizens report and prevent pesticide drift. We’ve seen and heard some outrageous cases of the victim paying (in terms of health, money and stress) for the sprayer’s mistakes, while the perpetrator is awarded a “no violation.” We’ve also seen, just this summer, farmers’ children playing outside their homes as fields were sprayed with pesticides right next to them.

We at Spray Drift Education Network feel the first and most important step to stopping and preventing future pesticide drift is to file the Pesticide Incident Complaint Form with the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

On an encouraging note: This year – more than any other year – I’ve received more forewarning of pesticide spray applications to take place around my property from farm managers and spray companies. This courtesy is so appreciated by organic/non-pesticide-using residences and farms. It’s a start, anyway.

If we can be of help in any way, please call Spray Drift Education Network at 815-988-2628 or go to: www.spraydriftillinois.com.

Note to readers: Jane Heim co-founded Spray Drift Education Network in 2011.

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