Oct 14, 2019California moves forward with chlorpyrifos pesticide ban
The California Environmental Protection Agency has announced that virtually all use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos in California will end next year following an agreement between the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) and pesticide manufacturers to withdraw their products.
“The swift end to the sale of chlorpyrifos protects vulnerable communities by taking a harmful pesticide off the market,” said California Secretary for Environmental Protection Jared Blumenfeld. “This agreement avoids a protracted legal process while providing a clear timeline for California farmers as we look toward developing alternative pest management practices.”
Earlier this year, DPR announced it was acting to ban use of chlorpyrifos by canceling the pesticide’s product registrations. The decision follows mounting evidence that chlorpyrifos is associated with serious health effects in children and other sensitive populations at lower levels of exposure than previously understood, including impaired brain and neurological development.
At the same time, DPR and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) have established a cross-sector working group to identify, evaluate and recommend safer, more sustainable pest management alternatives to chlorpyrifos. It will hold its first meeting this month and will hold three public workshops beginning in January.
The agreement with Dow AgroSciences and other companies means that use of chlorpyrifos will end sooner than anticipated had the companies pursued administrative hearings and potential appeals process, which could have taken up to two years. Under the settlement, the companies agreed that:
All sales of chlorpyrifos products to growers in California will end Feb. 6, 2020.
Growers will no longer be allowed to possess or use chlorpyrifos products in California after Dec. 31, 2020.
Chlorpyrifos is used to control pests on a variety of crops, including alfalfa, almonds, citrus, cotton, grapes and walnuts. It has declined in use over the past decade as California growers have shifted to other alternatives.
Use of the pesticide dropped more than 50% from two million pounds in 2005 to just over 900,000 pounds in 2017.
In 2015, DPR designated chlorpyrifos as a “restricted material” that requires a permit from the county agricultural commissioner for its application. In addition, application of chlorpyrifos must be recommended by a licensed pest control advisor and supervised by a licensed certified applicator.
Following DPR’s designation of chlorpyrifos as a toxic air contaminant in 2018, DPR recommended that county agricultural commissioners apply additional permit restrictions, including a ban on aerial spraying, quarter-mile buffer zones and limiting use to crop-pest combinations that lack alternatives.