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Report: Pesticide Mixtures May Increase Health Risks But Are Unregulated

Feb 18, 2016


A new UCLA report says the California Department of Pesticide Regulation fails to regulate pesticide mixtures adequately. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the study finds the mixtures may increase health risks.

The study looked at three fumigants commonly applied together in California. It found a "reasonable likelihood" the three can interact to increase health risks to farm workers and people who live near fields or orchards.

Report author Virginia Zaunbrecher is with UCLA’s Sustainable Technology and Policy Program. She says the chemicals can damage DNA and decrease the body’s ability to detoxify.

Zaunbrecher: “They could increase the risk of cancer and I think what’s important here is that increase, it could be additive, you could add the risk of each together but because they interact in this way it might be more than additive, it could be multiplicative so the sum might be greater than the parts.”

The report also finds that while laws require the DPR to assess cumulative risks, the agency has so far failed to do so. DPR says its scientists will review the study.