A study over the past year found high levels of toxic fumigants and other pesticides used near several schools in Santa Barbara County.

In its report “Too Close for Comfort,” the Central Coast Environmental Health Project (CCEHP), established by the Environmental Defense Center, included data compiled from June 2003 to February 2004. The report lists pesticides used in agricultural areas within a 1.5-mile radius around five schools – Adam Elementary, Bonita Elementary, Clarence Ruth Elementary, Kermit McKenzie Junior High and Miguelito Elementary – located in the Santa Maria, Lompoc and Guadalupe school districts.

“We saw high levels of use around these schools, and that wasn’t really surprising,” CCEHP director Eric C