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April 25, 2019

California Again Targets Pesticide Chlorpyrifos in SB 458

Crop protection tools are again under attack in California, as a newly proposed bill would prohibit the use of a pesticide that contains the active ingredient chlorpyrifos. SB 458 (Durazo) would make this provision effective unless and until the director of the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) adopts control measures for chlorpyrifos and the Director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) determines, by clear and convincing evidence, that those control measures will not result in neurodevelopmental harm to children after taking into account consumption of food and water.

Chlorpyrifos is an important tool farmers use as a part of their integrated pest management programs to protect California’s food supply from invasive species. It is used on more than 800,000 acres and more than 60 crops including tree nuts, vegetables, grapes, citrus, cotton and alfalfa. Collectively, these crops account for $23 billion in production value for California.

California already has a robust regulatory process, in addition to the federal process. Before a pesticide is registered for sale and use in California, it must undergo up to 120 health, safety and environmental tests; be evaluated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for an average of 9 years; and pass both state and federal stringent approval processes to ensure that no pesticides sold would have negative human health and environmental impacts.  

Western Growers, along with 20 other agricultural organizations, recently signed a letter that opposed SB 458 and sent it to the Senate Environmental Quality Committee. We will continue to advocate that any new control measures allow for the safe and continued use of this critical crop protection tool.

For more information, contact Matthew Allen at (916) 446-1435.