[X] CLOSEMAIN MENU

  • Archives

  • Categories

    • ALS (2)
    • Announcements (586)
    • Antibiotic Resistance (4)
    • Aquaculture (23)
    • Aquatic Organisms (8)
    • Beneficials (28)
    • Biodiversity (36)
    • Biofuels (6)
    • Biological Control (15)
    • Biomonitoring (28)
    • Birds (4)
    • btomsfiolone (1)
    • Canada (10)
    • Cannabis (22)
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (3)
    • Children (17)
    • Children/Schools (219)
    • Climate Change (34)
    • contamination (76)
    • Environmental Justice (112)
    • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (106)
    • Events (82)
    • Farm Bill (9)
    • Farmworkers (120)
    • Fertilizer (2)
    • Fracking (3)
    • Fungicides (2)
    • Goats (1)
    • Golf (11)
    • Health care (32)
    • Holidays (24)
    • Household Use (1)
    • Integrated and Organic Pest Management (57)
    • International (287)
    • Invasive Species (29)
    • Label Claims (47)
    • Lawns/Landscapes (190)
    • Litigation (292)
    • Microbiata (5)
    • Microbiome (6)
    • Nanosilver (1)
    • Nanotechnology (53)
    • National Politics (386)
    • Pesticide Drift (131)
    • Pesticide Regulation (684)
    • Pesticide Residues (149)
    • Pets (17)
    • Preemption (14)
    • Resistance (77)
    • Rodenticide (22)
    • Synthetic Pyrethroids (1)
    • Take Action (413)
    • Toxic Waste (1)
    • Uncategorized (377)
    • Wildlife/Endangered Sp. (328)
    • Wood Preservatives (22)
  • Most Viewed Posts

Daily News Blog

04
Dec

California Criticized for Adopting Inadequate Measures to Restrict the Highly Toxic Chlorpyrifos

(Beyond Pesticides, December 4, 2018) In mid-November, the state whose agricultural operations used more than 900,000 pounds of chlorpyrifos in 2016 (down from two million pounds in 2005) moved to establish some temporary restrictions on its use. Regulators at the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) issued interim restrictions on the compound while the agency works on a formal regulatory process to list chlorpyrifos as a “toxic air contaminant” and develop permanent restrictions on its use. A neurological toxicant, chlorpyrifos damages the brains of young children: impacts of exposure, even at very low levels, include decreased cognitive function, lowered IQ, attention deficit disorder, and developmental and learning delays. It was slated to be banned for food uses by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last year, but the decision was reversed by the Trump administration.

The interim measures in California include: banning aerial application of chlorpyrifos; ending its use on many crops — except for those determined to be “critical” by virtue of there being few, if any, alternatives (as determined by the University of California Cooperative Extension and listed on DPR’s website); establishing a quarter-mile buffer zone for 24 hours after any application of the pesticide; and requiring a 24/7/365, 150-foot application setback from houses, businesses, schools, and other sensitive sites. The CDPR, it should be noted, is recommending, rather than requiring, implementation of the temporary restrictions beginning January 1, 2019 (note the “no weight of law” and “toothless” commentary, below).

Chlorpyrifos is a widely used organophosphate pesticide used on approximately 60 different crops, and most intensively on almonds, cotton, citrus fruits, grapes, corn, broccoli, sugar beets, peaches, and nectarines. It is also commonly used for mosquito-borne disease control, and on golf courses. Exposure to the pesticide has been identified repeatedly as problematic.

There is a broader context for the CDPR’s announcement. In 2015 the EPA proposed to revoke food residue tolerances of chlorpyrifos, which would effectively have banned use of the pesticide in agriculture; all residential uses had previously been withdrawn from the market in 2000. Then, early in 2017, with a new administration in place, then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt reversed the agency’s own proposal to ban the pesticide — a decision that happened just weeks after Mr. Pruitt met with the head of Dow Chemical Company, maker of the compound. Mr. Pruitt then falsely claimed the science on chlorpyrifos was “unresolved” and said EPA would study the issue — with no planned action — until 2022.

Next, in the summer of 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued its decision in a suit, brought by a plethora of health, environmental, and labor groups represented by Earthjustice, asking that the 2017 Pruitt EPA order reversing the ban be vacated. (The attorneys general of New York, California, Washington, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, and Vermont also filed their own appeal calling for a ban.) The court ordered EPA to finalize its proposed ban on chlorpyrifos.

The Trump administration said it would appeal the court’s decision and, indeed, in the fall of 2018, the EPA and its new administrator, Andrew Wheeler, requested that the Ninth Circuit Court rehear the chlorpyrifos case in an en banc proceeding — one in which a case is heard before all the judges of a court rather than by a selected panel of them. (In the Ninth Circuit, this would typically mean 11 of its 29 judges.) EPA’s request is based primarily on challenges to that court’s authority in the matter.

Amid all this, states have begun to step up on the issue, with chlorpyrifos ban or restriction bills introduced in California, Hawaii, Maryland, and New Jersey. In June 2018, Hawaii became the first state to enact a ban on any use of chlorpyrifos. As of winter 2017–2018, there were some federal legislative efforts afoot: Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and eight cosponsors introduced the Protect Children, Farmers and Farmworkers from Nerve Agent Pesticides Act of 2017, S. 1624. Representatives Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) and 49 cosponsors introduced a companion bill, Pesticide Protection Act of 2017, H.R. 3380.

After the CDPR announced its intention to work toward a classification of chlorpyrifos as a “toxic air pollutant,” Beyond Pesticides put out the call for people to weigh in during the public comment period, encouraging them to insist on cancellation of the registration of the toxic pesticide altogether in the state. Beyond Pesticides noted, at the time, that the state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) had found that “those exposed to chlorpyrifos during 2004–2014 most often reported systemic symptoms (including headache, nausea, and dizziness), eye irritation, and respiratory complaints (breathing difficulties, cough, and throat irritation). Almost 90% of those reporting such symptoms were bystanders [rather than applicators, e.g.]. . . . Many studies link exposure to chlorpyrifos to developmental neurotoxicity at very low rates of exposure,” as was confirmed by the state’s Proposition 65 Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee.

Given the plentiful evidence of the toxicity of Dow’s chlorpyrifos to humans (especially babies and young children), the public health and environmental communities have criticized this temporary set of restrictions as wholly inadequate. Pesticide Action Network (PAN) called the interim measures “toothless,” and insists that the compound should be removed from the market entirely. PAN’s Paul Towers said, “Unfortunately, these are voluntary recommendations for local officials that have no weight of law behind them. . . . Instead of taking this brain-harming pesticide off the market, California officials are again passing the buck.”

Mark Weller, co-director of Californians for Pesticide Reform, has said, “This dragged-out process . . . is just confirming everything that we already knew, and that decades of scientists have already shown: that very small amounts, tiny amounts of chlorpyrifos exposure, especially prenatal exposure[s], lead to extremely concerning outcomes.”

On the ground, the impacts of continuing to “kick the can down the road” are real. The CDPR website notes: “In September 2018, following extensive scientific review and public comment, DPR proposed designating chlorpyrifos as a ‘toxic air contaminant,’ which California law defines as an air pollutant that may cause or contribute to increases in serious illness or death, or that may pose a present or potential hazard to human health. A 45-day public comment period on the proposed designation closed on Nov. 9. Following designation of chlorpyrifos as a toxic air contaminant, DPR is required to consult with other state and local agencies — including the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, the California Air Resources Board, CAC’s and local air districts — to determine what permanent mitigation measures are needed. This regulatory process could take up to two years to complete [italic emphasis ours].”

Scientists and many regulators understand that chlorpyrifos (and other organophosphate pesticides) need to come off the market, for food and non-food uses, altogether. It is particularly important that California, home to the country’s largest agricultural sector, take robust action. But now, for at least two more years and likely longer, the state’s children will be exposed — dietarily, or in air or water by virtue of where they live or engage in activities — to this harmful chemical. The CDPR’s anemic — and non-compulsory — interim measures will further endanger populations already disproportionately affected by pesticide exposures — low-income, African-American, and Latino people. This is a public health and environmental justice issue on which California should be taking the lead.

The public can advocate against the continued use of chlorpyrifos by contacting Representatives and Senators to urge their support of the legislation mentioned above, as well as by supporting state-level legislation. Learn more about the impacts and status of chlorpyrifos (and other pesticides) by visiting the Beyond Pesticides Pesticide-Induced Diseases Database and its factsheet, Children and Pesticides Don’t Mix (a chronicle of peer-reviewed scientific literature on the health effects of pesticides).

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

Sources: https://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/apnewsbreak-california-aims-restrict-popular-pesticide-59219027 and https://www.thecalifornian.com/story/news/2018/11/16/california-pesticide-regulators-recommend-chlorpyrifos-restrictions/2025145002

Share

Leave a Reply

  • Archives

  • Categories

    • ALS (2)
    • Announcements (586)
    • Antibiotic Resistance (4)
    • Aquaculture (23)
    • Aquatic Organisms (8)
    • Beneficials (28)
    • Biodiversity (36)
    • Biofuels (6)
    • Biological Control (15)
    • Biomonitoring (28)
    • Birds (4)
    • btomsfiolone (1)
    • Canada (10)
    • Cannabis (22)
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (3)
    • Children (17)
    • Children/Schools (219)
    • Climate Change (34)
    • contamination (76)
    • Environmental Justice (112)
    • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (106)
    • Events (82)
    • Farm Bill (9)
    • Farmworkers (120)
    • Fertilizer (2)
    • Fracking (3)
    • Fungicides (2)
    • Goats (1)
    • Golf (11)
    • Health care (32)
    • Holidays (24)
    • Household Use (1)
    • Integrated and Organic Pest Management (57)
    • International (287)
    • Invasive Species (29)
    • Label Claims (47)
    • Lawns/Landscapes (190)
    • Litigation (292)
    • Microbiata (5)
    • Microbiome (6)
    • Nanosilver (1)
    • Nanotechnology (53)
    • National Politics (386)
    • Pesticide Drift (131)
    • Pesticide Regulation (684)
    • Pesticide Residues (149)
    • Pets (17)
    • Preemption (14)
    • Resistance (77)
    • Rodenticide (22)
    • Synthetic Pyrethroids (1)
    • Take Action (413)
    • Toxic Waste (1)
    • Uncategorized (377)
    • Wildlife/Endangered Sp. (328)
    • Wood Preservatives (22)
  • Most Viewed Posts