A historic announcement was made Wednesday morning when California Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration revealed the decision to cancel registration of the brain-harming pesticide chlorpyrifos.
Soon, there will be no more chlorpyrifos in California. This is a momentous win for children, farmworkers and rural communities across the state.
Building power for years
The case for a chlorpyrifos ban has been clear for years, with numerous scientific studies linking prenatal exposure to children developing autism, ADHD and other neurodevelopmental conditions. This action to halt use of the chemical was long overdue, and reflects years of organizing with grassroots groups and partners across the state.
The victory comes on the heels of last year’s chlorpyrifos ban in Hawaiʻi, and one passed just last week in New York. Similar laws are now in motion in Oregon, Maryland and Connecticut.
States have been stepping up to oust the brain-harming chemical after the Environmental Protection Agency ignored its own scientists’ recommendations and reversed course on a planned ban back in 2017. But PAN and partners took legal action in response to this, and recently a federal court ordered EPA to act on chlorpyrifos nationally.
A heavy burden, lightened
Almost one million pounds of chlorpyrifos were applied in California as per the most recent data available. Eliminating the chemical from the California food and farming system will protect vulnerable populations all over the state, especially children and farmworkers.
In addition to cancelling registration of chlorpyrifos, the Governor’s office also announced that $5.7 million will be earmarked to identify and implement alternatives to the pesticide, including research into biological pesticides, and a new focus on integrated pest management.
PAN Organizer Medha Chandra on the Governor’s decision:
“While we await federal action, PAN applauds action on chlorpyrifos at the state level. Governor Newsom has taken critical action needed to protect generations of California children from brain damage.”
PAN is urging the administration to ensure that the cancellation of this pesticide is swift and comprehensive, and to encourage the transition to agroecological methods of farming in the state.