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PLNA e-News: Protecting Values In Pennsylvania

PDA Contemplates Banning the Pesticide Chlorpyrifos

Thursday, March 19, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Gregg Robertson
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HARRISBURG – At the March 3 meeting of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s (PDA) Pesticide Advisory Board (Board), PDA laid out it’s plan to gather public comment on the possibility banning the pesticide chlorpyrifos. While no action has yet been taken, the ban is under serious consideration.

PDA Secretary Russell Redding at the Department’s House budget hearing called chlorpyrifos a “deadly chemical.” He promised legislators that the Department would review the use of the chemical in Pennsylvania. A bill has been introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, House Bill 2091, to ban the pesticide.

Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide, acaricide and miticide thathas been under scrutiny by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and other states for several years. The Obama Administration had begun the process of delisting the pesticide but did not complete the process before the administration ended.

Because of the potential health concerns, the EPA negotiated a deal with Dow Chemical to phase out all residential uses of chlorpyrifos in 2000, but this deal left agricultural applications intact.

The researchers at Columbia University found that when children were exposed in the womb to chlorpyrifos, they tended to be smaller, have poorer reflexes, and show higher risks of having ADHD and other developmental disorders years after being exposed. Another team of researchers in Berkeley made similar findings. Since then, peer-reviewed publications have provided strong evidence for the neurodevelopmental toxicity of chlorpyrifos.

Last July, Trump administration EPA administrator Andrew R. Wheeler, announced that EPA would not ban the widely used pesticide. As a result of EPA’s inaction, states have begun to take matters into their own hands.  

Hawaii was the first state to phase out the chemical after Jan. 1, 2019. However, the bill gives businesses the ability to apply for a three-year extension to adjust to the new law. In April 2019, New York banned the use of chlorpyrifos in the state by Dec. 1, 2021.

California is now phasing out the use of chlorpyrifos. Sales to California growers ended Feb. 6, 2020, and growers will not be allowed to possess or use it after Dec. 31, 2020.

Oregon and Connecticut are currently exploring bans on using the insecticide in their respective states.

If you use chlorpyrifos in your business and have an opinion on this potential ban, you may submit comments to PDA by downloading and completing this questionnaire and submitting it to the address on the form.

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