9 Most Frequent Misstatements by Hawaii Chemical Companies


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1) CHEMICAL COMPANIES: “All of these chemicals and pesticides have been tested and found to be safe

when used according to the label.”


 No one has ever tested the combined impacts of these chemicals over time in the communities in

which they are being used.

 Many of the chemicals (including Atrazine; Paraquat, also known as Gramoxone; and

Chlorpyrifos, also known as Lorsban) that are regularly used near Hawai‘i homes, schools, and

hospitals are banned in other countries.

 Atrazine, manufactured by Syngenta, has been banned in the European Union since October 2003.

See also Paraquat bans and Chlorpyrifos bans.

 The American Academy of Pediatrics’ “Pesticide Exposure in Children” (2012) cites the

implementation of buffer zones and disclosure notification requirements by States and localities as

positive measures that help mitigate risks.

 The American Cancer Society’s “Increased Cancer Burden Among Pesticide Applicators and Others

Due to Pesticide Exposure” (2013) states definitively that people who live and work around

agricultural areas that have high pesticide use suffer a greater incidence of certain cancers and

other medical problems.

 The University of California at Davis recently released a report, “Neurodevelopmental Disorders

and Prenatal Residential Proximity to Agricultural Pesticides: The CHARGE Study” (2014), linking

the long term use of Glyphosate to the increased incidence of autism.

 Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP) labels forbid their use in conditions which allow the pesticides to

drift onto neighboring properties. Nevertheless, there are numerous incidents of drift occurring in

Hawai‘i, with no legal consequences for the companies. The attached links of two modest studies

on Kaua‘i indicate that while the quantities are small, Restricted Use Pesticides are drifting into

neighborhood schools and into adjacent streams:

o “Air sampling and analysis for pesticide residues and odorous chemicals in and around

Waimea, Kaua‘i” (March 15, 2013)

o “2013-14 State Wide Pesticide Sampling Pilot Project Water Quality Findings” (May 2014)

2) CHEMICAL COMPANIES: “We use less pesticides, not more.”


Despite the fact that no other farmer in Hawai‘i uses anything close to what these chemical companies

use, the chemical companies attempt to compare apples to oranges:

 The chemical companies compare themselves to conventional corn growers (who harvest one (1)

crop growing cycle per year). In Hawai‘i, the chemical companies are engaging in industrial and

experimental agriculture, and planting three (3) or more crop growing cycles per year.

See the non-confidential records obtained in the lawsuit by Waimea, Kaua‘i residents against

Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc..

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 The chemical companies are experimenting with “Roundup Ready” and other chemical-resistant

crops, encouraging greater pesticide use. “Roundup resistance has led to greater use of herbicides,

with troubling implications for biodiversity, sustainability, and human health.”

 The Cascadia Times reported: “Our investigation found that annualized pounds-per-acre usage of

the seven highly toxic pesticides on Kaua‘i was greater, on average, than in all but four states:

Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina and Indiana.”

 According to Kyle Smith, an attorney representing Waimea Residents in their lawsuit against

DuPont Pioneer, during the August 5, 2013 Kaua‘i Council Meeting regarding

Bill No. 2491 (Ordinance No. 960): “Sixty-five percent (65%) of the days of the year on average,

so about two hundred forty (240) days, they are applying pesticides. You can look at the

combinations that are applied. You could look at it by on the application days, the average is

between eight (8) and maybe sixteen (16) applications per day of pesticides on these research

fields. Most importantly though and I think what is most relevant for this discussion is the total

usage. Recently, the industry statistics I saw put out at the public comment was that Kaua‘i was

using about one (1) pound per acre, per season and that the mainland uses about two (2) pounds

per acre and I have these charts to show you. Again, I believe it is a seed company graph. The

reality is if you double that because we have multiple seasons, we have three (3) seasons.

Typically, two (2) seasons are planted, you are looking at closer to two (2) pounds per acre, that

puts us in the upper-level of the mainland usage. . . . 2010, 2009 you are looking at close to

twelve (12) pounds per acre and the average usage, and this is Restricted-Use Pesticides, over that

same time period would be eight (8) pounds per acre.”

3) CHEMICAL COMPANIES: “The information regarding the pesticides we use is already public



 The only State records kept are of Restricted Use Pesticides SOLD in the State of Hawai‘i—NOT the

Pesticides USED. Additionally, these records are for RUPs only, not all pesticides.

 The State does not keep records of, and the companies have refused to release any information

regarding, the amount of “General Use Pesticides” (such as Glyphosate) that they are using.

 The HDOA will no longer provide company-specific data but only aggregated data, which makes it

impossible to determine what chemicals are being used by whom at what geographical location.

 The HDOA has charged hundreds of dollars to provide the data.

 Hawai‘i Revised Statutes 149A-31.2 (Pesticide use; posting online) (2013), mandating that HDOA

“shall publish on its website the public information contained in all restricted use pesticide

records, reports, or forms submitted to the department” still has yet to be implemented by HDOA.

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4) CHEMICAL COMPANIES: “We are highly regulated.”


Not really.

 Federal agencies do not always have a Hawai‘i presence, rarely conduct on-site physical

inspections, and have delegated responsibilities to the States and localities. See also Wisconsin

Public Intervenor v. Mortier, 501 U. S. 597 (1991).

 Even though the chemical companies are by far the largest agricultural users of RUPs in the State

and operate on over 20,000 acres often adjacent to homes, schools, and sensitive environmental

areas, the HDOA infrequently inspects their operations.

o Approximately 43% of the HDOA inspection log incidents are redacted from public view

indicating inspection cases that remain “open” and/or otherwise contain information not

available to the public.

o It takes YEARS to investigate violations and complaints of pesticide drift. See the following:

 Honolulu Civil Beat, “Does Hawai‘i’s Failure to Enforce Pesticide Use Justify Action

 Video of HDOA responses to the Kaua‘i County Council during proceedings for

o Licensed physicians on Kaua‘i who practice in areas impacted by the chemical companies’

operations have expressed that they believe there is 10 times the national rate of certain

rare congenital heart defects in newborns.

o The State birth defects registry until very recently has not been updated since 2005.

by Kaua‘i?” (October 8, 2013)

Bill No. 2491 (Ordinance No. 960)

5) CHEMICAL COMPANIES: “We only use what every other farmer uses.”


Based on raw Kaua‘i data provided by HDOA showing three (3) years of RUPs purchased for use in


USED BY THE CHEMICAL COMPANIES. Just in 2012, and just on Kaua‘i, over 5,477 pounds and

4,324 gallons were purchased by the chemical companies. The chemical companies have used at least

22 different types of RUPs, while regular food farmers use one (1) to possibly three (3) different types

and use only a few gallons every few years. Summary data is here.

6) CHEMICAL COMPANIES: “We do not experiment with pesticides.”


 Bacillus thuringiensis corn (“Bt Corn”) is considered a pesticide by the United States

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and experiments with Bt Corn require an “Experimental

Use Permit” (EUP) issued by the federal government. See for example here, and here (documents

were provided by HDOA with all redactions as shown).

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 The chemical companies have other federal Experimental Use Permits; however, the total number

of experiments conducted with pesticides is not known and public records contain redactions.

See for example here, and here (documents were provided by HDOA with all redactions as


7) CHEMICAL COMPANIES: “The State and County also use large quantities of pesticides.”


 The State and County primarily use general use pesticides such as Roundup for roadside spraying

and park maintenance. These products are considered non-RUPs by the EPA and HDOA.

 The State uses very small amounts of RUPs in targeted efforts to fight invasive species.

8) CHEMICAL COMPANIES: “The County of Kaua‘i uses more RUPs than anyone.”


 The only RUP the County uses is chlorine gas to eliminate bacteria in water. Chlorine gas is by

definition a RUP but it is not applied in the open air near homes, schools, hospitals, or other

sensitive areas. Its application is very controlled and the information pertaining to its use is public.

9) CHEMICAL COMPANIES: “What about golf courses? They use lots of pesticides, too.”


 Reporting of golf course RUP sales on Kaua‘i in 2012 shows only approximately 50 pounds and

20 gallons of RUPs are used annually by all of the golf courses on Kaua‘i combined—compared to

over 5,477 pounds and 4,324 gallons used by the 4 chemical companies each year. The raw data

is here and the summary data is here.

– Information provided by Kaua‘i County Councilmember Gary Hooser –

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About garyhooser

This blog represents my thoughts as an individual person and does not represent the official position of any organization I may be affiliated with. I presently serve as volunteer President of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A.) www.hapahi.org I am the former Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. In another past life, I was an elected member of the Kauai County Council, a Hawaii State Senator, and Majority Leader, and the Director of Environmental Quality Control for the State of Hawaii - in an even earlier incarnation I was an entrepreneur and small business owner. Yes, I am one of the luckiest guys on the planet. Please visit my website AND sign up for my newsletter (unlike any email newsletter you have ever gotten, of that I am sure) - http://www.garyhooser.com/#four “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We’re afraid.” “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We will fall!” “Come to the edge.” And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew. - Christopher Logue (b.1926)
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