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PESTICIDES IN PARADISE
HAWAI‘I’S HEALTH & ENVIRONMENT AT RISK
HAWAI‘I
M AY 2 0 1 5

ABOUT CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY
CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY (CFS) is a non-profit public interest and environmental advocacy membership organization established in 1997 for the purpose of challenging harmful food production technologies and promoting sustainable alternatives. CFS combines multiple tools and strategies in pursuing its goals, including litigation and legal petitions for rulemaking, legal support for various sustainable agriculture and food safety constituencies, as well as public education, grassroots organizing and media outreach. For over a decade, CFS has worked alongside Hawai‘i organizations and advocates to advance the vision of a safer, healthier food system. Since opening the Honolulu office in 2014, CFS has provided legal and scientific advice to activists, worked with the legislature, convened workshops and conferences, supported local farming, secured funding for our partners, and grown its Hawai‘i True Food network membership.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Authors: Bill Freese, Ashley Lukens, Ph.D. and Alexis Anjomshoaa
Contributing Author: Sharon Perrone Copy Editing: Megan Blazak and Sharon Perrone
Legal Consultant: Sylvia Wu Design: Sharon Perrone Figures: Patrick Riggs
Report Advisor: Andrew Kimbrell Special Contributor: Fern A. Rosenstiel
To view the Executive Summary and Abridged Report or access this report as a PDF, visit Center for Food Safety online at: www.centerforfoodsafety.org/reports
2 | HAWAI‘I CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY PESTICIDES IN PARADISE: HAWAI‘I’S HEALTH & ENVIRONMENT AT RISK

CONTENTS

SUMMARY OF KEY FINDINGS

5

PART I: INTRODUCTION

7

PART II: OVERVIEW OF AGRICULTURE IN HAWAI‘I

8

2.1

Era of Sustainability

8

2.2

Plantation Agriculture

10

2.3

The Rise of the Seed Crop Industry in Hawai‘i

12

PART III: GENETICALLY ENGINEERED CROPS IN HAWAI‘I

21

3.1

Trends in Number of GE Crop Field Tests in Hawai‘i

22

3.2

Types of GE Crops Tested in Hawai‘i

23

3.3 Companies Withhold Information on GE Crop Field Tests

25

3.4 Herbicidal Onslaught with GE Herbicide-Resistant Crops

25

PART IV: PESTICIDE AND FERTILIZER USE IN GE SEED CORN PRODUCTION

28

4.1

Agrochemical Use on Mainland Field Corn

28

4.2 Agrochemical Use on Seed Corn Grown in Hawai‘i

29

4.3 Pesticide Use on Hawai‘i’s Seed Corn: By the Numbers

30

4.4 Restricted Use Pesticides: Hawai‘i vs. Mainland Corn

32

4.5 Comparison to Pesticide Use in California

34

4.6 Pesticide Use by Agrochemical Firms vs. Small Farmers

35

PART V: ADVERSE IMPACTS OF PESTICIDES REPORTED IN HAWAI‘I

36

5.1

Lessons from History

36

5.2 Pesticide Drift in Hawai‘i

37

PART VI: HEALTH IMPACTS OF PESTICIDE EXPOSURE

41

6.1

Farmers and Pesticide Applicators

41

6.2 Our Keiki at Risk

44

6.3 Health Harms Specifically Linked to Pesticide Drift

48

6.4 Pesticide Poisoning Can Cause Lasting Harm

48

6.5 Exposure to Pesticides in Water

49

6.6 Exposure to Pesticides in Food

50

PART VII: ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF PESTICIDES IN HAWAI‘I

52

7.1

Hawai‘i – Biodiversity Hotspot and “Endangered Species Capital of the World” 52

7.2

Threats Posed by Agrochemicals

53

7.3

Impacts of Multiple Pesticides

58

PART VIII: DEFICIENCIES IN REGULATION

59

8.1

Pesticide Regulation

60

8.2 Regulation of Genetically Engineered Crops

62

8.3 Attempts at Local Regulation – Litigation Update

63

8.4 Momentum Building to Protect Kids from Pesticide Drift

65

8.5 Other State and County Pesticide Programs and Regulations

66

PART IX: CONCLUSION

67

REFERENCES

69

APPENDICES

78

Appendix I: Contribution of Agriculture and the Seed Industry to Hawai‘i’s Economy 78

Appendix II: RUP Use in Kaua‘i, Moloka‘i, Maui, and O‘ahu

79

HAWAI‘I CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY PESTICIDES IN PARADISE: HAWAI‘I’S HEALTH & ENVIRONMENT AT RISK | 3

FIGURES + TABLES

Figure 1: Top Private Landowners in Hawai‘i in 2013

11

Figure 2: Agricultural vs. Non-Agricultural Jobs in Hawaii: 1990-2013

16

Figure 3: GDP of Agriculture vs. Other Industries in Hawai‘i

17

Figure 4: Agriculture as Share of Hawai‘i’s Real GDP

17

Figure 5: Area Planted to Plantation vs. Other Crops in Hawai‘i

18

Figure 6: Share of Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Markets Supplied by Hawai‘i Produce

18

Figure 7: Area Planted to Vegetables, Fruits & Seed Crops in Hawai‘i

19

Figure 8: Top Ten Most Frequent Locations for Crop Release

22

Figure 9: Permit for Typical GE Corn Field Release in Hawai‘i and Puerto Rico

23

Figure 10: Permits and Field Test Sites for GE Crop Field Releases in Hawai‘i

23

Figure 11: Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States: 1996-2014

24

Figure 12: GE Field Tests by Crop in Hawai‘i: 2010-2014

24

Figure 13: GE Crop Field Trial Permits for Selected Traits in Hawai‘i: 2010-2014

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Figure 14: GE Crop Field Releases in Hawai‘i by Institution

26

Figure 15: DuPont-Pioneer Pesticide Use on Kaua‘i: Application Frequency

32

Figure 16: Average Annual Sales of Restricted Use Pesticides on Kaua‘i

33

Figure 17: Pounds of Restricted Use Pesticides Applied on Kaua‘i by Month: 2014

34

Table 1: Top Six Companies in Agrochemicals & Seeds

15

Table 2: Land Used for Seed Crop Operations in Hawai‘i

19

Table 3: Major Lessors of Land to Seed Industry in Hawai‘i

20

Table 4: Types of Genetically Engineered Crops Tested in Hawai‘i

25

Table 5: “Next Generation” GE Herbicide-Resistant Crops

26

Table 6: Key to DuPont-Pioneer Pesticide Used on Kaua‘i

32

Table 7: RU Insecticide Use on Kaua‘i Seed Corn

34

Table 8: Sales of Restricted Use Pesticides for Agricultural Use in Hawai‘i: 2013

35

Table 9: Health Impacts of Pesticides

43

Table 10: Pesticide Impacts on Children

47

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SUMMARY OF KEY FINDINGS
Hawai‘i’s agriculture is dominated by experimental genetically engineered (GE) crops grown by five of the world’s six major agrochemical-seed multinationals: Monsanto, Dow Chemical, DuPont-Pioneer, Syngenta and BASF. Like the plantation agriculture that preceded them, these GE seed crop operations claim much of Hawai‘i’s prime farmland, make no contribution to the state’s food needs, and involve intensive use of toxic pesticides.
HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF AGRICULTURE IN HAWAI‘I (SECTION 2)
❖❖The GE seed industry’s rapid expansion onto former plantation lands has contributed to steadily declining food security; once food self-sufficient, by 2013 Hawai‘i supplied less than 12% of its food needs (2.3).
❖❖The seed industry accounts for less than 0.5% of Hawai‘i’s jobs and gross domestic product, while agriculture redirected to greater food self-sufficiency would create more jobs and bolster Hawai‘i’s economy (2.3.2 & 2.3.3, inset on “Diversified Agriculture”).
GENETICALLY ENGINEERED CROPS IN HAWAI‘I (SECTION 3)
❖❖Hawai‘i leads the nation in GE crop field trials, with tests on 1,141 sites in 2014 alone, representing a far higher density of field tests than on larger mainland states (3.1).
❖❖The majority of GE crops tested in Hawai‘i are corn (67%) or soybeans (24%), while virtually no GE crops relevant to Hawai‘i’s food needs are being tested (3.2).
❖❖The most commonly tested GE “trait” is herbicide-resistance (82% of field releases over the past two years), which permits heavier and more frequent spraying of herbicides than is otherwise possible (3.2 & 3.4).
PESTICIDE USE ON HAWAI‘I (SECTION 4)
❖❖GE seed corn in Hawai‘i involves much more intensive use of pesticides than mainland field corn, for instance, 17 times more restricted use insecticides (4.1 to 4.4).
❖❖From 2007-2012 on Kauai, DuPont-Pioneer alone applied 90 different pesticide formulations representing 63 active ingredients on 2/3 of the days each year, with on average 8.3 to 16 applications per application day in various years of this period (4.3).
❖❖Large agricultural users of more hazardous “restricted use pesticides” (RUPs) – mostly seed firms – account for 99.8% of agricultural RUP sales on the Islands (4.6).
ADVERSE IMPACTS OF PESTICIDES REPORTED IN HAWAI‘I (SECTION 5)
❖❖Pesticide drift frequently sickens Hawai‘i’s schoolchildren, triggering nausea, vomiting, dizziness and difficulty breathing, among other symptoms, and in some cases necessitating decontamination showers, school evacuations and hospitalization.
❖❖Children and adults in Waimea, Kaua‘i, downwind of DuPont-Pioneer fields, have been particularly hard hit by pesticide drift and “fugitive dust;” Kaua‘i physicians report “almost daily” respiratory complaints, as well as nose bleeds and dermatitis; and they suspect pesticides as a possible cause of high cancer and birth defect rates.
❖❖Hawai‘i’s lack of a pesticide poisoning surveillance system, as found in 11 other states, means that pesticide drift is likely far more common than realized.
HAWAI‘I CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY PESTICIDES IN PARADISE: HAWAI‘I’S HEALTH & ENVIRONMENT AT RISK | 5

SUMMARY OF KEY FINDINGS
HEALTH IMPACTS OF PESTICIDE EXPOSURE (SECTION 6)
❖❖Farmworkers and children are at greatest risk from pesticides, due to high exposure and greater sensitivity, respectively. Fetuses (via maternal exposure) are the most vulnerable.
❖❖In a major review of the medical literature, the American Academy of Pediatrics found strong evidence linking pesticide exposure of kids to childhood cancers, neurobehavioral and cognitive deficits, adverse birth outcomes, and asthma. Many of the implicated pesticides (e.g. chlorpyrifos, atrazine) are heavily used in Hawai‘i (6.2).
❖❖Adults exposed to pesticides have higher risk of various cancers, Parkinson’s disease, depression, and reproductive problems, such as low sperm counts (6.1).
❖❖Studies suggest that even one-time (acute) pesticide poisoning episodes can sometimes have long-term health impacts (6.4).
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF PESTICIDES IN HAWAI‘I (SECTION 7)
❖❖Hawai‘i’s incredible biodiversity and many threatened and endangered species are at risk from intensive pesticide use on the Islands.
❖❖For instance, atrazine contamination of surface water threatens amphibian life, while many insecticides heavily used in seed corn operations are toxic to bees.
DEFICIENT FEDERAL AND STATE REGULATION MAKES LOCAL ACTION NECESSARY (SECTION 8)
❖❖EPA relies almost entirely on companies’ tests on their own pesticides, fails to consider the toxicity of pesticide additives and exposure to multiple pesticides, and wrongly assumes perfect compliance with application regulations (8.1.1).
❖❖Thousands of pesticide drift episodes occur each year despite EPA regulation, causing illness in both children and adults as well as crop damage; in 2009, public interest groups sued EPA for its failure to protect kids from hazardous pesticide drift (5.2, 8.4).
❖❖Government scientists found that pesticide drift frequently sickens schoolchildren, and recommend “pesticide spray buffer zones around schools” (5.2, 8.4)
❖❖Momentum is building to protect kids from pesticide drift. At least nine states and 14 counties have established no-spray buffer zones around sensitive areas such as schools, daycare centers and hospitals, among other regulations (8.4 & 8.5).
❖❖Residents of three Hawai‘i’s counties passed ordinances regulating pesticide use and pesticide-intensive GE seed crop operations; rather than comply with these prudent laws, Hawai‘i’s pesticide firms have sued the counties to overturn them (8.3).
A growing movement, led by communities and local elected officials, is demanding protection of Hawai‘i’s environment and its citizens, especially its keiki, from pesticidal harms; and a sustainable food system that better meets the state’s food needs.
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JUSTIN ZERN

PART ONE: INTRODUCTION
In November 2013, 4000 people took to the streets of Kaua‘i in support of Bill 2491, a proposed ordinance that would require agrochemical companies to disclose the amount, location, and frequency of the pesticides they spray, as well as observe modest no-spray buffer zones around “sensitive areas” including homes, schools, hospitals, and waterways. That same year, on Hawai‘i Island, Ordinance 13-121 was passed to provide farmers and residents of Hawai‘i, their property, and the environment important protection from the impacts of genetically engineered (GE) crops, such as transgenic contamination and associated pesticide drift, while also banning the planting and outdoor testing of new GE crops. In 2014, Maui County followed suit, passing a temporary moratorium on GE operations until the companies funded an Environmental and Public Health Impact assessment. These historic actions are the work of a powerful and growing community-driven movement to protect citizens, especially our children, from the irresponsible practices of the multinational agrochemical companies that operate across the state of Hawai‘i.
This report emerges from the frontlines of that movement. First, we describe the historical and economic context of the seed industry, its role in Hawai‘i’s agriculture and economy, and the missed opportunities for greater food security. This is followed by a detailed review of GE crop field trials and pesticide usage practices that characterize the seed industry in Hawai‘i. We then discuss pesticide poisoning episodes in Hawai‘i, and more broadly survey the medical and scientific literature addressing the human health and environmental impacts of pesticides. Finally, we describe the serious deficiencies in federal regulation in this arena, and the wave of initiatives taken by states and counties in response. Our hope is to build support for measures to protect Hawai‘i’s citizens, particularly children, from harmful pesticide exposure; and for measures to increase Hawai‘i’s local food production and food security.
HAWAI‘I CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY PESTICIDES IN PARADISE: HAWAI‘I’S HEALTH & ENVIRONMENT AT RISK | 7

HAWAI’I STATE ARCHIVES & HAWAI’I TOURIST BUREAU

PART TWO: OVERVIEW OF AGRICULTURE IN HAWAI‘I
2.1 ERA OF SUSTAINABILITY
Before we can delve into Hawai‘i’s current agricultural landscape, and the role that GE seed testing and production plays in that landscape, it is useful to consider the history of agriculture and resource management in the state. This history points to important socio-political dynamics that have dramatically reduced community access to land and water, transforming food from locally produced sustenance into a commodity to be exported or imported. Hawai‘i’s history of food self-sufficiency also inspires Hawai‘i’s food movement, as Native Hawaiians supplied all of their own food needs for thousands of years without needing to import food. Although Hawaiian agriculture was long dominated by export-oriented sugar and pineapple plantations, for centuries prior the Islands’ agricultural system sustained thriving communities living on the most remote island chain in the world (Mitra
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PART TWO: OVERVIEW OF AGRICULTURE IN HAWAI‘I

2014). The first Polynesians arrived in Hawai‘i from the Marquesas between 500 and 700 AD. They introduced animals, including pigs and chickens, and brought essential plants for subsistence from their land of origin1 (HDOA 2015a). All of these plants and animals provided the Islands’ settlers with everything they needed to survive, including food, clothing, medicine, and materials for building shelter. These locally cultivated staple foods supported the nutritional demands of the early settlers, but fostered population growth that required more sophisticated systems of agriculture.
Over the next millennium, in almost complete isolation, the Hawaiians developed an agricultural system that included aquaculture, or fish ponds (loko i‘a), irrigated wetland taro patches (lo‘i kalo), and rain-fed dryland field systems (Newman 1971, Vitousek et al. 2004). These systems were designed to work in harmony with features of the local ecosystem to optimize growing conditions for crops. For example, to provide optimal taro growing conditions in ponds of slowly circulating water, Hawaiians engineered and built foundational infrastructure such as ditches (‘auwai) that fed stream water into staggered terraces, or lo‘i. While irrigated wetland agricultural systems were primarily found on older islands and in the alluvial valleys of the younger islands, rain-fed dryland systems suitable to local growing conditions were often found on the younger volcanoes of Maui and Hawai‘i (Vitousek et al. 2004). This approach to infrastructure design ultimately allowed taro cultivation in Hawai‘i to reach intensive levels, with hundreds of varieties developed for particular terrains or for specific traits, all derived from roughly twelve original varieties brought to Hawai‘i by the early Polynesian settlers (Hawaiian Encyclopedia 2015). As the Hawaiians’ staple crop, taro (or kalo) was imbued with cultural significance, providing spiritual and physical sustenance simultaneously.2
Hawaiians continued building their local food system by developing the ahupua‘a land management system, which incorporated key principles of ecology and environmental management. The ahupua‘a system organized natural resource use and access around self-sustaining land divisions that follow watershed contours from the tips of the mountains (mauka) to the near-shore fisheries (makai). These wedge-shaped pieces of land encompass a range of microclimates and natural habitats, each section uniquely suited to cultivating crops, hunting, fishing, and foraging. This arrangement allowed for maximizing the use of biodiversity over short distances and acknowl-
1The canoe plants include ‘ape (elephant’s ear), ‘awa (kawa), ‘awapuhi kuahiwi (shampoo ginger), hau ipu (gourd), kalo (taro), kamani (Alexandrian laurel), kī (ti), kō (sugar cane), kou, kukui (candlenut), mai‘a (banana), milo (portia tree), niu (coconut), noni (Indian mulberry), ‘ohe (bamboo), ōhi‘a‘ai (mountain apple), ōlena (turmeric), olonā, pia (Polynesian arrowroot), ‘uala (sweet potato), uhi (yam), ‘ulu (breadfruit), and wauke (paper mulberry). 2For Native Hawaiians, taro is not simply a traditional food, but a relative, an older brother of the Hawaiian people deserving of great respect. “The first child of Wākea and Ho‘ohōkūkalani was an unformed fetus, born prematurely they named him Hāloa-naka (quivering long stalk). They buried Hāloa-naka in the earth, and from that spot grew the first kalo plant. The second child, named Hāloa in honor of his elder brother, was the first Hawaiian ali‘i nui and became the ancestor of all the Hawaiian people” (Kame‘eleihiwa 1992).

Taro (or kalo) was imbued with cultural significance, providing spiritual and physical sustenance simultaneously.

HAWAI‘I CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY PESTICIDES IN PARADISE: HAWAI‘I’S HEALTH & ENVIRONMENT AT RISK | 9

PART TWO: OVERVIEW OF AGRICULTURE IN HAWAI‘I

The ahupua‘a land management
style preserved ecosystem
services and provided advanced
agricultural options that worked with the natural world.

edged the interactive influences of biological resources and production zones. This land management style preserved ecosystem services and provided advanced agricultural options that worked with the natural world (Mueller-Dombois 2007).
An ahupua‘a contained all the resources a community would need to sustain itself, while allowing for high productivity; historically it is reported that this system sustained a population of one million (Stannard 1989). The community living within an ahupua‘a was responsible for managing its land and water resources. This community-based management of natural resources underpinned social and political belonging: “Rather than being residents of a village, a family belonged to an ahupua‘a…The ahupua‘a assured that its residents had access to the resources of both land and sea” (Corum 2000). Further, as a set of practices that shaped land and relationships, it also pointed to a “way of seeing” the world and the relationships therein, as the ahupua‘a “governed people’s survival and their capacity to secure ready access to necessary resources” (Andrade 2001). Weaving together the cultural and social identity with the place where one resides, the Hawaiian worldview further understood ‘āina not as simply land or property, but as that which feeds, signaling the inextricable relationship between land, people, and food. The values governing land and natural resources in Hawai‘i ensured that the present generation would subsist totally from locally sourced food, and that the integrity of natural resources would be preserved so future generations could thrive. The fact that the residents of the Hawaiian Islands never relied on imported food well into the eighteenth century is a direct result of this integrated approach to the food system, land management and socio-cultural belonging.
2.2 PLANTATION AGRICULTURE
With the arrival of Captain Cook in 1778, a new era in Hawai‘i’s agriculture began – one dominated by foreign agricultural interests that would gradually alienate native Hawaiians from their land and natural resources, and utilize these resources for pesticide-intensive plantation crop agriculture that undermined Hawai‘i’s food security and impacted the health of Hawai‘i’s people and its environment as well.
In the mid-nineteenth century, the transfer of land into the hands of Americans and Europeans became known as the Mahele,3 whereby the foreign concept of private property, a concept antithetical to the communal land model of kānaka maoli, was introduced as a legal mechanism to displace most Hawaiians from the land they had historically managed. This resulted in the concentration of land among a small group of foreign merchants and sugar planters, who came to be known as the Big Five (Castle & Cooke, C. Brewer & Co., Alexander & Baldwin, Theo Davies & Co., and Amer-

3The Mahele was an act for land redistribution proposed by King Kamehameha III in 1830, enacted in 1845, and amended in 1850 that allowed foreigners to buy and lease land (Bartholomew et al. 2012).

10 | HAWAI‘I CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY PESTICIDES IN PARADISE: HAWAI‘I’S HEALTH & ENVIRONMENT AT RISK

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