Thursday, February 27, 2020

Dept. Of Agriculture Commits To Review Of “Deadly” Pesticide Chlorpyrifos

At the February 26 hearing on the Department of Agriculture’s budget request, Secretary Russell Redding made a commitment to review the pesticide chlorpyrifos to determine if it is appropriate to ban the chemical in Pennsylvania.
Redding made the commitment in response to a question from Rep. Carolyn Comitta (D-Chester).
“A number of states have taken action to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos because of the harm it causes human health and to children in particular,” said Rep. Comitta. “ New York, California and Hawaii have all adopted bans and EPA recommended it be banned 5 years ago, although the current Administration disagrees with that conclusion.
“The Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Advisory Board is scheduled to meet March 3 on the issue and legislation that has been introduced by my colleague Rep. Zabel-- House Bill 2091 to ban the pesticide,” said Rep. Comitta.
Redding called chlorpyrifos a “deadly chemical” and a restricted use pesticide.  He said his agency has not taken a position on the legislation or a ban at this point.
“You have our commitment to do a review of the bill and look at the technicalities, including making sure to pinpoint details like the CAS number,” said Redding.
He said if Agriculture does ban the pesticide they would want to do it in the most specific way possible and not inadvertently ban a whole family of chemicals.
Rep. Comitta followed up by saying, “We have a pesticide out there that affects children, that causes brain damage.  While there may be considerations, there are none more important than our children’s health. I suggest a ‘deadly chemical’ deserves a very close look, and a ban.”
More Background
The Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Advisory Board is scheduled to meet on March 3 and on the agenda is a discussion of legislation-- House Bill 2091--  proposing a ban on the pesticide chlorpyrifos known to cause harm to human health, in particular children, as well as to wildlife.
Sen. Steve Santarsiero (D-Bucks) announced plans to introduce legislation to ban chlorpyrifos on February 4.  Separate legislation-- House Bill 2091 (Zabel-D-Delaware)-- has been introduced to do the same in the House.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommended the banning of chlorpyrifos nearly five years ago, following studies linking the pesticide with various health issues.
EPA found that children who eat produce sprayed with the pesticide can end up ingesting levels of the toxin 140 times what is considered to be safe.  Chlorpyrifos has been linked to brain damage in children. Click Here for more on EPA’s recommendation.
The Trump Administration’s EPA now does not support a ban.
“Chlorpyrifos is causing significant harm to children, farm workers, and communities all across Pennsylvania and the United States,” said Sen. Santarsiero, who serves as the Minority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. “We know the facts and have seen the results, yet we still choose to ignore the irreparable damage being inflicted upon countless people with the continued use of this pesticide.
“California, the top agricultural state in the country, banned the registration of chlorpyrifos, as did the entire European Union,” said Sen. Santarsiero.  “It’s long overdue for Pennsylvania to make the same decision and put the health of our residents first.”
After February 6, 2020, sales of the pesticide ended in California.  Hawaii and New York are phasing in chlorpyrifos bans.
On February 6, Corteva, Inc., a manufacturer of chlorpyrifos, said it would stop making the pesticide by the end of the year.
Also on the agenda for the Committee is EPA applicator training for Paraquat applications.
The meeting will be held in Room 309 of the Agriculture Building, 2301 North Cameron Street in Harrisburg starting at 9:30 a.m.
For available information, visit Agriculture’s Pesticide webpage.  Questions should be directed to Jessica Lenker by calling 717-772-5217 or send an email to:
Related Article:
[Posted: February 27, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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