Paso Robles residents claim pesticide drift is causing health issues

Posted at 10:22 PM, Jun 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-05 01:22:59-04

Some Paso Robles neighbors are claiming a nearby vineyard’s pesticide practices may be to blame for their chronic health issues.

The vineyard in question is on Linne Road, owned by Paso Robles Vineyards Inc. The company says the Huerhuero Vineyard produces grapes for various wineries in the Paso Robles region.

"I got so sick, I couldn’t go to my job anymore and run my business," said Jenny Beck, who says she had to move away from her Paso Robles home after suffering several health complications. "My dog lost all of her fur and went blind. It’s been horrific,"

Beck says hers is one of several families who have suffered illnesses in the community near Linne Road. They now call themselves the Paso Robles Coalition Against Pesticide Drift.

Beck said a number of people and pets in the neighborhood have been diagnosed with cancer, though KSBY was unable to verify her claims Monday.

With developers eyeing nearby property, the group is concerned that hundred more families could be susceptible to illness.

"We need to make sure this pesticide drift issue is 100-percent fixed. They can’t break ground until we’re sure these people are going to be safe," says Beck.

Representatives for Paso Robles Vineyards Inc. say they’ve performed several demonstrations for neighbors and the San Luis Obispo Department of Agriculture, which "confirmed full compliance with all rules and regulations relating to the application of herbicides and pesticides."

The company also says wind meters are maintained on all tractors for the application of herbicides and pesticides, claiming "applications are only made when conditions are not conductive to drift. There is zero tolerance for off-target drift."

The vineyard’s owners also say they’re in compliance with rules mandated by the Department of Pesticide Regulations, monitored by a pesticide control advisor.

Developers who are hoping to build hundreds of units near the Huerhuero Vineyard say it’s too soon in the planning process to comment on how they’ll mitigate those health concerns.