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Chlorpyrifos: Too Toxic for California

By Laura Deehan
Public Health Advocate

Today, CALPIRG joined Californians for Pesticide Reform and 116 other groups in supporting the Department of Pesticide Regulation's proposal to designate chlorpyrifos as a toxic air contaminant. However, as we state in the letter, the state must not stop there; protecting the public from risks posed by chlorpyrifos means preventing its use completely. The state must cancel all registered uses of chlorpyrifos, and immediately suspend current registration of chlorpyrifos containing products, to ensure that these products no longer threaten our health. 

Chlorpyrifos is a known toxic threat; especially to children and pregnant women. In August of 2018, a federal appeals court ruled that the EPA must ban chlorpyrifos because of the known health risks, but the EPA has been slow to respond. In the meantime, Californian fruit growers are still spraying chlorpyrifos on soil and crops, contaminating the air, water and food that we eat. In 2016, California used nearly a million pounds of chlorpyrifos mainly in the production of grapes, almonds and oranges. While the toxin destroys the nervous system of insects, it has similar impacts on the nervous system of humans. Children and infants exposed to chlorpyrifos have a higher risk of brain disorders like ADHD and autism. Chlorpyrifos is too toxic for California and so regulators should halt its use in our state immediately. 

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