Section 7A: Pesticide use reporting system
Section 7A. (a) Subject to appropriation, the department shall establish and implement a pesticide use reporting system for use by government agencies, researchers, policy makers and the public to ensure the public health and safety and to protect the environment of the commonwealth. In establishing and implementing the system, said department shall design, develop and implement the system in order to collect, evaluate, summarize, retain and report information on the use of pesticides in each major category of use in the commonwealth, including agriculture, forestry, industrial, commercial and homeowner uses. Said department shall, at least one time each year, collect the best data practicable from each major category of pesticide use in a manner that will allow such data to be used for public health purposes, including, but not limited to, epidemiological studies, and for environmental protection purposes. Such data shall be collected in a manner which minimizes reporting costs. Said department shall begin operation of the required statewide data reporting program on or before January 31, 2002.
(b) The secretary of environmental affairs shall appoint a pesticide stakeholder work group to advise the department in developing the pesticide use reporting system required by this section. Said secretary shall appoint the following members of the work group: one pesticide applicator, one pesticide dealer, one certified arborist, one public health expert or researcher familiar with pesticides and their impact on public health, one representative from the department of public health, one representative from the department of environmental protection, one representative from the department's pesticide board established by section 3, and one representative from each of the following organizations: one environmental organization, one labor organization, one public health organization, one public water supplier and one agricultural organization. In carrying out its responsibilities under this section, the department shall consult with the work group appointed under this section and convene meetings of the work group as necessary. All meetings of the work group shall be open to the public and shall include an opportunity to receive recommendations and comments from members of the public. The work group shall make specific recommendations on stable and sufficient funding mechanisms to support the pesticide reporting program.
(c) Said department shall conduct an analytical review of any issues that must be resolved in order to establish a valid, cost-effective pesticide use reporting system in the commonwealth. The review shall be conducted in consultation with the work group appointed under this section, and its conclusions shall be published not later than January 31, 2001. As part of the analytical review required by this section, the department shall consider whether and to what extent use of anti-microbial pesticides, as defined in section 2, shall be part of the pesticide use reporting system. In implementing the pesticide use reporting system, the department shall, beginning January 31, 2003, and annually thereafter, make available data on pesticide use in the commonwealth.
(d) Said department shall develop protocols for the exchange of information with the department of public health or other state agencies for the purpose of conducting research related to the public health and the environment. Said department shall also establish policy and adopt rules relating to the public release of pesticide use information. The policy and rules may not reveal the identity of the owner or lessee of a specific property or the address of the property itself where a pesticide has been applied, and shall maintain the confidentiality of that information. Nothing in the policy or rules adopted by said department shall limit access to data for the following purposes: (1) information obtained as part of any investigation under any other provision of law; (2) the release of information obtained exclusively under this chapter to any other local, state or federal agency, if the local, state or federal agency has agreed to maintain the confidentiality of any information that is required to be treated as confidential under this subsection, unless the public interest by clear and convincing evidence requires disclosure in the particular instance; and (3) the release of information obtained exclusively under this chapter to a health or environmental researcher acting in an official capacity from an accredited university or accepted research institute who agrees to maintain the confidentiality of any information that is required to be treated as confidential under this section.
(e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to create a new private right of action against any pesticide user or retail pesticide dealer.