An agreement between pesticide manufacturers and the California EPA will cut off sales of the insecticide chlorpyrifos on Feb. 6 and ban virtually all use of the chemical in the state after next Dec. 31. It offers a much speedier schedule for withdrawing the chemical from the market in the No. 1 agricultural state than initially expected.
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation said on Wednesday that it is sending notices to pesticide makers that it will cancel registration of chlorpyrifos in the state because of “detrimental human health effects associated with the products’ use.”
Eleven environmental, labor, and medical groups filed suit in a U.S. appeals court in California on Wednesday to ban use of the insecticide chlorpyrifos. It was the second time the groups have sought to force the EPA to ban the widely used organophosphate pesticide.
California environmental regulators announced on Wednesday that the state will prohibit use of the insecticide chlorpyrifos, a process that could take two years to complete. Even as California acted, the U.S. EPA was facing a court-imposed deadline of mid-July to decide on a federal ban of the pesticide.
The federal appeals court in San Francisco ordered the EPA to decide within 90 days — by mid-July — whether to ban agricultural use of the insecticide chlorpyrifos, already barred from residential use. Environmental groups have campaigned for years to take the organophosphate pesticide out of use in the United States.
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, announced a bill on Wednesday to effectively ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos from school food.
Facing an October deadline to ban the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos, the EPA asked a federal appeals court on Monday for a rehearing of the case that resulted in the ban. The environmental law firm Earthjustice said the EPA request will postpone the court order of early August to ban the pesticide in 60 days.
On Thursday, the U.S Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals gave the federal government 60 days to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which is widely used in agriculture but criticized as a risk to children and farmworkers.
Syngenta announced this week that it will pay $550,000 in fines after the Environmental Protection Agency found that it misused the pesticide chlorpyrifos at a test field in Hawaii. The fine is dramatically lower than the nearly $5 million initially sought by the Obama administration. Scott Pruitt, Trump's EPA chief, overruled a recommendation by agency scientists to ban chlorpyrifos for agricultural use.
A Trump administration appointee at EPA has taken an influential role in federal assessment of the risk posed by hazardous chemicals, "making it more aligned with the industry's wishes," reports the New York Times. The new approach includes the EPA decision in March to allow continued agriculture use of chlorpyrifos, an insecticide criticized as a risk to children and farmworkers.