Oct. 10 (UPI) — California has made an agreement to ban the use of chlorpyrifos, a pesticide associated with serious health effects in children, the state’s environmental protection agency said.
Under an agreement between the California Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Pesticide Regulation and chlorpyrifos manufacturer Dow AgroSciences, sales of chlorpyrifos in the state will end on Feb. 6 and growers will be prohibited from possessing the pesticide after Dec. 31 of next year.
“For years, environmental justice advocates have fought to get the harmful pesticide chlorpyrifos out of our communities,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “Thanks to their tenacity and the work of countless others, this will now occur faster than originally envisioned. This is a big win for children, workers and public health in California.”
California has been seeking to ban the pesticide for years as evidence shows that it is associated with health problems including impaired brain and neurological development in children and vulnerable populations. In 2018, the DPR designated chlorpyrifos as a “toxic air contaminant” following a review of the product by the University of California, Irvine.
As part of the agreement, DPR and the California Department of Food and Agriculture have created a working group to recommend safer alternatives for the pesticide used on alfalfa, almonds, citrus and cotton crops with its first meeting to be held in January.
“The swift end to the sale of chlorpyrifos protects vulnerable communities by taking a harmful pesticide off the market,” California Secretary for Environmental Protection Jared Blumenfeld said. “This agreement avoids a protracted legal process while providing a clear legal process while providing a clear timeline for California farmers as we look toward developing alternative pest management practices.”
The pesticide has seen a steady decline in use in California from 2 million pounds in 2005 to a little more than 900,000 in 2017, the CPEA said.
With the ban, California joins Hawaii as the only other state to ban the pesticide, which it did last year, though it will not be implemented until 2020.
Chlorpyrifos has been under federal scrutiny for years, with a federal court last year telling the EPA to prohibit the pesticide but the decision was overruled in July, with the federal organization stating there was insufficient evidence to support a nationwide prohibition.
Until 2000, chlorpyrifos was permitted for use in the home.