Cascadia Times shares Kaua`i pesticide data

Stiff trade winds blow chemicals and dust from GMO test fields across the Hawaiian island of Kaua`i.
Stiff trade winds blow chemicals and dust from GMO test fields across the Hawaiian island of Kaua`i.

Stiff trade winds blow chemicals and dust from GMO test fields across the Hawaiian island of Kaua`i.

The Hawaii Crop Improvement Association, a trade group representing the agricultural seed industry in Hawaii, is saying in a statement on its web site and in stories published in a Hawaiian newspaper that it is “disturbed” by our alleged “lack of understanding” of farming practices and “complete disregard for scientifically sound interpretation, statistical analysis and presentation of the data” in our stories about pesticide use in field testing of GMO products on Kaua`i here and here.

“The author’s graph indicates that pesticide use on Kaua`i even tops that of California, which is simply not true,” HCIA said.

The HCIA provided no evidence in support of these and other allegations against us. It offers no data of pesticide usage in California or any other state. The data in Cascadia Times’ report was based on tables from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Pesticide National Synthesis Project, found here: http://pubs.usgs.gov/ds/752.

Additionally, on its website, the HCIA states that the 2013-2014 State Wide Pesticide Sampling Pilot Project Water Quality Finding by the state of Hawai`i and the U.S. Geological Survey “does not support the author’s alleged findings.”

The HCIA is apparently confusing the State Wide Pesticide Sampling data and a different set of data published by the USGS. Our story was based on the more extensive USGS pesticide runoff data, which is found here,http://www.waterqualitydata.us/.

The reason we gave little credence to the state report is because it included only one round of data, which were collected on each of the main Hawaiian Islands in December 2013 and January 2014. The USGS collected two rounds of data on Kaua`i in September 2012 and January 2014.

In the spirit of openness and transparency, We are happy to share the data that we collected from the USGS, which formed the basis for the charts that were published alongside our stories. That way, the residents of Kauai can double-check our data for themselves.

Note that the calculations in the pesticide data spreadsheets take into account the usage of pesticides only on harvested cropland – not total cropland – and are adjusted to take into account the 1.16 percent of this cropland that is used to cultivate organic crops where synthetic pesticides are not used.

We are also attaching the USGS pesticide runoff data. An analysis of this data shows that the average concentration of pesticides in the water increased by 387 percent from 2012 to 2014. The largest increase, incidentally, was for the herbicide atrazine. The average amount of atrazine and its metabolite, hydroxy-atrazine, in the water increased by 1,164 percent from 2012 to 2014.

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