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California bans brain-damaging pesticide chlorpyrifos, helps farmers transition to safer alternatives

BERKLEY, CALIF. – The California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) today announced that the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is taking action to ban the use of the ban-damaging pesticide chlorpyrifos. The move includes a $5.7 million proposal by the Gov. Newsom to support farmers in transitioning to safer alternatives.

California joins the state of New York and Hawaii in taking action to ban the use of chlorpyrifos. Just last week the New York legislature passed a bill to ban chlorpyrifos and the bill is on the way to the Governor’s desk.

In response to today’s decision, Tiffany Finck-Haynes, pesticides and pollinators program manager, issued the following statement:

California’s decision to ban this brain-damaging pesticide is a victory for our children and the planet. By outlawing chlorpyrifos, California joins New York and Hawaii in putting public health and the environment over corporate profits. We call on the state to work as swiftly as possible to cancel the registration of chlorpyrifos.

Friends of the Earth is supporting SB 458, a bill before the legislature that would ban chlorpyrifos. Thousands of Friends of the Earth members have called and emailed their legislators in support of the bill and support a ban on chlorpyrifos.

In 2015, after extensive study, Environmental Protection Agency scientists confirmed that chlorpyrifos could not be considered safe at any detectable level. In 2017, the Trump administration overrode the recommendations of EPA’s own scientists to ban the use of this pesticide. Federal courts ruled that the EPA has 90 days to decide whether to discontinue its use.   

Chlorpyrifos is highly toxic and is linked to brain damage in children, autism, cancer and Parkinson’s disease. It also poses a risk to roughly 1,800 critically threatened or endangered species and is the second most harmful pesticide for pollinators.

Expert contact: Tiffany Finck-Haynes, (202) 222-0715, tfinckhaynes@foe.org
Communications contact: Patrick Davis, (202) 222-0744, pdavis@foe.org

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