PO Box 88 ~ Glendale Springs, North Carolina 28629 ~ Phone (336) 982-2691 ~ Fax (336) 982-2954 ~ Email:

Protect All Children's Environment


October 20, 2003

Good afternoon, I am Elizabeth O’Nan, director of Protect All Children's Environment (PACE), a national pesticide and chemical injury support organization. I am here today to support the “Be Safe: Blueprint Ensuring Our Safety And Future Economy” campaign. As our part of this effort we are focusing on prevention of illness and environmental damage resulting from the misapplication of aerial pesticides. For years PACE has had reports of serious injury and disability caused by aerially applied pesticides. To address this unsafe method of delivering pesticides we are circulating a petition to ban aerial pesticides. In light of recent attempts by the North Carolina Pesticide Board to pass dangerous laws deregulating aerial pesticide regulations that would allow massive contamination with 6ppm of any kind of pesticide no matter how toxic, support for a ban on this practice is imperative.

It makes sense to:

Prevent pollution instead of spending millions of dollars to clean up the mess;

Protect our children, and avoid illness and suffering, rather than asking how much damage from chemical exposure is acceptable;

Use renewable, sustainable technologies instead of depleting our resources; and

Have responsible parties restore damage, such as permanently cleaning up drinking water poisoned by toxic dumps, instead of burdening communities with health threats and expensive, short-term treatments.

We endorse the common-sense approach outlined in the Blueprints four principals listed below.


Government and industry have a duty to prevent harm, when there is credible evidence that harm is occurring or is likely to occur -- even when the exact nature and full magnitude of the harm is not yet proven.

The NC Pesticide Board has proposed to deregulate aerial pesticide spraying regulations despite a growing body of evidence which shows very low amounts of pesticides may cause neurological damage, learning disabilities, behavioral problems and cancer in children.

NC aerial applicators have admitted in public hearings that they can not apply pesticides without breaking current laws that prohibit spray drift in unintended areas. Aerial pesticide contamination of unintended areas has long been known by regulators and applicators and was an early warning that was ignored. Instead of prohibiting aerial spraying, the Board tried to make poisoning our children legal.

The EPA has said that they have “significant concerns with the (NC) Boards proposal” because it was unenforceable, based on old outdated data and poorly calculated the risks involved.


Industry and government have a responsibility to thoroughly study the potential for harm from a new chemical or technology before it is used -- rather than assume it is harmless until proven otherwise. We need to ensure it is safe now, instead of being sorry later. Research to investigate the impacts on workers and the public should be confirmed by independent third parties.

The NC Pesticide Board allowed an unqualified industry public relations person, Chuck Lunchick, who holds an unrelated PhD, to write the proposal for deregulation of aerial pesticides. This was a blatant failure to meet the Board’s mandate to protect the health and environment from pesticides and a failure to put safety first. Only those without conflicts of interest or that may be unduly influenced should formulate regulations to protect public health and environment.


Precautionary decisions place the highest priority on protecting health and the environment, and help develop cleaner technologies and industries. Government and industry decisions should be based on meaningful citizen input and mutual respect (or the golden rule), with the highest regard for those whose health may be affected rather than those with financial interests. Independent science should inform public policy, and give the public information to make decisions about threats and guarantee effective safeguards and enforcement.

The NC Pesticide Board is an industry controlled bureaucracy. In light of this regulatory scandal Governor Easley needs to replace industry members with citizens who have proven records of promoting pesticide safety and public health and who have no financial associations with the regulated industry. It is undemocratic to ask citizens to appeal for assistance from the very industries who have caused their injuries. The fox guarding the henhouse method of regulation must end.


Decision-making by government, industry and individuals must evaluate alternatives, and require use of the safest, technically feasible solution. We support innovation and promotion of technologies and solutions that create a healthy environment and economy. We choose the precautionary approach to protect our health, environment and economy for ourselves and for future generations.

There are many alternatives to spraying dangerous pesticides from the air where they will contaminate large unintended areas. The safest solution is simply to ban aerially applied pesticides. Non toxic alternatives have been shown to produce larger crops without the unnecessary risk of pesticide contamination of air, water and soil. Spraying from the ground is far more accurate and less costly in terms of wasted pesticide that fails to hit the target area. Rather that legalizing the poisoning of our children, the NC Pesticide Board should be banning aerial pesticide spraying, making a greater effort to eliminate pesticides in schools and public places and teaching homeowners non toxic alternative methods of pest control.

Thank you for your time and attention in attending today. If you have further questions I shall make myself available immediately after the press conference.

E.M.T. O'Nan
Protect All Children's Environment
396 Sugar Cove Road
Marion, North Carolina 28752
Phone: (828) 724 4221
Fax: (828) 724 4177