California Tightening Rules on Popular Pesticide

Associated Press writer Scott Smith reported last week that, “California is tightening the strictest rules in the nation on a pesticide that is popular with farmers over new health concerns, officials said Friday.

“Farmers use chlorpyrifos (klor-PHIR-e-fos) to kill pests that attack a wide variety of crops like grapes, almonds and cotton grown in California, the nation’s agricultural leader, as well as across the country.

State officials are taking steps to put it on a list of chemicals known to be harmful to humans and to also increase the distance from schools and homes in which farmers can apply.”

The AP article noted that, “The moves run contrary to a decision by Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to end his agency’s effort to ban the pesticide sold by Dow Chemical after federal scientists concluded it can interfere with the brain development of fetuses and infants.

“Pruitt told Congress in June his decision was based on ‘meaningful data and meaningful science.’ Pruitt’s staff has thus far declined to provide details of what information Pruitt reviewed before making his decision.

 “California officials say that researchers are learning more about how the pesticide harms the developing brains of unborn babies and young children. Farmers apply it to 60 different crops, and it is most heavily used in San Joaquin Valley farming communities.”
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