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Oregon adds online pesticide complaint reporting


Oregonians with complaints about a pesticideincident can now file their concerns online with the Oregon Department ofAgriculture, which has set up a new pesticide complaint intake feature on itswebsite.

ODA hopes online reporting ofincidents will make it easier for citizensto provide important information to the agency and result in a more timelyresponse.

“We really encourage thepublic to let us know as soon as possible if there has been a pesticideincident impacting health or the environment so that we can immediatelyinvestigate the matter if it is warranted,” says Dale Mitchell, manager ofODA”sPesticides Program.

“ODA is the agency that investigates improper use ofpesticide products, but unfortunately, many people don’t know where to go ifthey have been impacted or become aware of a pesticide incident. The sooner wereceive information from thosefolks, the sooner we can respond.”

Upon receiving a pesticidecomplaint, ODA also refers it to the Pesticide Analytical and Response Center(PARC), which acts as a clearinghouse for all PARC agencies. Member agencieshave specialized roles, expertise, and authority, working under alargerfederal framework to ensure the safe use of pesticides. These agencies havecollaboratively improved state coordination and communication when respondingto concerns of pesticide impacts to people, animals, and the environment.

Once a pesticide complaint isreceived– online, by email, or by phone– the complainant can expect to hearfrom ODA or a PARC member agency within one business day. PARC has also createda one-sheet document that can be converted into aposter, which provides aquick-guide of what to do and who to call in the event of a pesticide incidentconcern. It can be found at:<>.

While ODA accepts complaintsof many types of pesticide incidents, there is specific interest this time ofyear in large-scale bee deaths that may be related to the use of pesticides.

“Many times, there is theassumption that bee deaths in Oregon occur because of the impact ofpesticides,” says Mitchell. “Certainly pesticides, including neonicotinoids,cannot always be immediately ruled out but there may be many other potentialcauses.

“If we can receive information quickly, we can gather samples and learnmore about the incident so that we can identify the cause.

“Last year, we hadincidents in Clackamas County where assumptions weremade that pesticides were thecause of bee deaths when, in fact, there was no such evidence andno levels of pesticide residuewere found in the dead bees. Likewise, our investigations can also confirmpesticides as the cause of bee deaths, as was the case in Wilsonville two yearsago.”

ODA encourages individualswho come across a large bee kill– roughly 100 or more bees– to report the incidentby using the new online complaint system or contacting ODA by phone or email.The same process is in place for other incidents wherepesticides may beinvolved.

The new online pesticidecomplaint reporting system can be found at <>.Individuals can also contact ODA’s Pesticides Program at (503) 986-4635.

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