Chemical companies have given up fighting for a ban on chlorpyrifos pesticides in California, which has been linked to learning and development disorders.
The deal announced Wednesday with the State Environmental Protection Agency sets the stage for closing almost all sales of chlorpyrifos-containing pesticides by next year, a timeline that would probably not be met if these companies continued to hold a hearing on the subject. Instead, they will voluntarily withdraw their products, the EPA announced.
"For years, environmental justice advocates have struggled to remove harmful chlorpyrifos pesticides from our communities," said Governor Gavin Newsom. “Thanks to his tenacity and the work of countless others, this will now happen faster than originally anticipated. This is a big win for children, workers and public health in California. "
California EPA Secretary Jared Blumenfeld said the deal "avoids a lengthy legal process and provides a clear timetable for California farmers as we seek to develop alternative pest management practices."
The state has set up a working group to identify pesticide alternatives, which will no longer be on the market after February 6, 2020. California is the largest user of organophosphate compound, spreading 900,000 pounds on almonds, grapes, citrus fruits, alfalfa, stone fruits, cotton and other crops in 2017, according to state data.
Corteva AgriScience, formerly known as Dow AgroSciences, is the largest manufacturer of the chemical. A company employee was not immediately available for comment.
After tightening restrictions on the application of chlorpyrifos products in recent years, the state has this year opted to revoke product registration – effectively a ban. Dow-led companies requested an administrative hearing, which delayed the implementation of the ban.
A small amount of granular chlorpyrifos may still be sold for some applications because the state has concluded that they do not pose the same danger as the aerosolized liquid forms of the chemical.
Chlorpyrifos became a kind of poster for the reversal of the Trump government regulation, which sometimes occurred challenging scientific discoveries about health and environmental damage.
Former US EPA administrator Scott Pruitt lifted an Obama-era ban that had been accelerated by a court order, and his successor, Andrew Wheeler, extended the pesticide safety review to 2022. California, six other states and A number of environmental issues and labor groups have sued these actions.
The federal EPA has responded to complaints about its decisions by streamlining the review process – it now expects to make an interim decision by October 2020, followed by a public review process.